About two dozen women settled into their seats at a long table on Via Alloro’s leafy patio a couple of weeks ago as waiters poured their choice of red or chilled white wine. The menu featured a grilled New Zealand salmon fillet and a warm chocolate tart – topped off with a discussion about how fertility starts to decline when women hit their late 20s. This wasn’t your average weeknight dinner in Beverly Hills.
“Most women reach the end of their fertile window around 45,” said Dr. Karine Chung, director of USC’s fertility preservation and egg-freezing program. It’s a process that begins to hasten at around 35. Harvesting and freezing eggs allows women a chance to go back in time and use younger eggs to increase their changes of fertility. The process involves taking hormone shots for a couple of weeks to boost the number of mature eggs a woman will produce during her menstrual cycle. Doctors then extract those eggs vaginally with a small needle,keeping them in a deep freeze until she’s ready to get pregnant.