Mumbai, India (BBN)-When former Miss World Diana Hayden delivered a baby girl in a city hospital on Saturday, a bit of medical marvel was at work.
The child was born out of an egg that 42-year-old Hayden had frozen eight years ago, reports TNN.
Arya Hayden’s birth proves that egg freezing, deemed technically difficult until a decade ago, works and could liberate Indian women from their great worry: the ticking biological clock.
“A career woman need not think about her biological clock and get pressurized into getting married earlier than she wants to or have a baby when she isn’t ready,” said Hayden from her hospital suite in Surya Mother and Child Hospital in Santa Cruz.
Hayden was 32 when she read about egg freezing for the first time in 2005.
Between October 2007 and March 2008, she froze 16 eggs with infertility specialist Dr Nandita Palshetkar.
“I froze my eggs for two reasons: I was busy with my career at that time and, more important, I was very clear that I was going to wait to fall in love and marry before having a baby.”
Freezing her eggs proved to be a godsend for the model-actor for another reason.
Hayden, who was 40 when she fell in love and married American Collin Dick two years ago, found out that she had endometriosis.
“Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the endometrium or the inner lining of the uterus starts growing outside as well. Women with endometriosis may not always produce good quality eggs,” said Palshetkar.
That is when the couple decided to thaw Diana’s frozen eggs and attempt a test-tube baby.
“Hayden’s daughter weighed 3.7kg and was 55cm long.
The average weight and length in India are 2.6kg and 48cm,” said paediatrician Dr Bhupendra Avasthi of Surya Hospital.
The infertility specialist team of Palshetkar and Dr Hrishikesh Pai believes Hayden could be a poster girl for egg freezing.
“Egg freezing for medical reasons is done frequently, but I would say that Diana is among the first to use it for lifestyle reasons,” said Pai. Incidentally, this isn’t the first time that the former Femina Miss India who was crowned Miss World in 1997 has been a health ambassador.
When her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she took up the cause of spreading awareness about the disease.
Medically speaking, the big change in egg freezing occurred a decade ago.
“The process of vitrification (see box) changed everything,” said the doctors.
“We suddenly had a technique to fast freeze eggs.”
Infertility specialist Dr Firuza Parikh, editor of the Indian edition of the Fertility and Sterility medical journal, said egg freezing has become a standardized procedure and is likely to become common among women who want to defer childbirth.
One of her patients who had frozen her eggs in 2005 had a child a couple of years ago.
“I remember the case well because the woman froze her eggs and not embryos because she wasn’t sure her marriage would last. Her marriage broke up, but she later thawed her eggs to have a baby with her second husband.”
Infertility specialist Dr Ameet Patki, who was former president of the Mumbai Obstetric and Gynecological Society, said egg freezing is a boon for women.
“Often women come to us on turning 40 for IVF treatment. But they don’t have good quality eggs at that time and need to use donor eggs.”
Egg freezing isn’t without controversies. American corporates kicked off a controversy last year when they promised to pay for egg freezing for their female employees.
A study in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) in October 2015 said the freezing and thawing process may damage eggs and reduce a woman’s chance of becoming a mother.
The study, done in New York’s Centre for Human Reproduction, looked at 93 per cent of all donor IVF cycles in the US in 2013 and found women had a 56 per cent chance of becoming mothers with fresh eggs but just 47 per cent with frozen eggs.