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Jill Martin: Why I decided to freeze my eggs 8 years ago — and what I'm doing now

Eight years ago, at the age of 38, I decided to freeze my eggs. Today, I'm ready to talk about it with other women.
/ Source: TODAY

Everyone’s journey is different. Kathie Lee always says, “Do you want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.”

My plan? Well, if you were to rewind and ask teenage Jill what she would be when she “grew up,” she would have said, “married, with kids on the way, working in fashion ... and happy.” Well, three out of four isn’t bad, right?

I think having the platform we have here at TODAY, while it’s not an obligation to share everything publicly, we do know the impact we can make when we do choose to share. I feel today more than ever, women are doing just that. As a result, we are starting more and more conversations together.

Back in 2019, Dylan Dreyer spoke very bravely about secondary infertility. She talked about coming into work after she initially thought she had a miscarriage and putting on a happy face because “that’s what we do.” She later found out that she did in fact miscarry. It is something that many of you have gone through, judging from the overwhelming response.

After Dylan shared her story, I was inspired to share a little about my own experience, something I had been reluctant to discuss publicly until then: Eight years ago, at the age of 38, I decided to freeze my eggs. I wasn’t in a relationship of consequence at the time and, to be honest, wasn’t really ready to have a baby. I always dreamed of having at least one child. I grew up in a family with two beautiful parents and an unbelievable brother and that is what I knew. I felt like I should follow that “formula,” but have since come to the realization that my plan is a different one.

The process of freezing was intense and painful. I remember taking the needles out of the refrigerator while working on a show and giving myself a shot in the stomach (while I still had my microphone on.) I had to do it twice (sometimes three times) a day and go to the doctor every other day for two weeks — the entire process takes a month. No one knew what I was going through because I didn’t share it. I guess part of me was disappointed in myself that I didn’t live out my intended plan.

“You are an overachiever,” the doctor said as I came out of anesthesia after the egg retrieval surgery. Nineteen eggs. They actually give you a picture of them. My father, who infuses humor into any situation, looked at me and lovingly said, “That one looks like me.”

Fast forward eight years, and I am married to a man I love. My plan is different. I have three amazing bonus children. We have no plans to expand our family right now, but at the same time, I'm not letting go of my frozen eggs. I am still paying to keep them on ice, even though it's expensive, and I'm not sure I'll ever use them.

What I do know is that I am happy and lucky to have options: I have frozen time in a way; I can adopt; I can decide with my incredible partner to have our own child some day, or decide to live our lives together without adding another member to our family.

I chose to share this story for all those women who are in a similar situation. In the end, the option is ours, and so is our personal journey.

If you're thinking about freezing your eggs and wondering about the process, here six women share things they wish they knew beforehand.