The Spring’s Shopping Spree: Couture Sperm and Crochet

A good friend called me this week to cluck about her eggs-and it had nothing to do with Easter. She had just come from her knitting circle-you know, one of those modern-day kaffeeklatsches where you dish while supposedly

doing something earnest and practical-and had been informed by a co- tricoteuse that she was “too old to freeze her eggs.”

A heated debate ensued, accompanied by the frantic clicking of needles.

With no consensus of opinion on the hard-boiled facts about in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the knitting circle-composed almost

entirely of biological clock-watchers in their mid-30’s-then descended into an uproar. The only thing these groovy chicks agreed about was the fact that women’s magazines habitually placed too much emphasis on the weepy psychodrama of this egg-y issue,

while neglecting to communicate the basic facts.

I called reproductive endocrinologist Mitchell Essig, M.D. (779-8576) and begged him to unscramble this fertilization frittata. I gleaned the following:

1. Unfertilized eggs have a 3 percent survival rate, but for fertilized eggs it’s 80 percent-therefore freezing without fertilization is a waste of a good refrigerator.

2. No offense, but age is a critical factor. IVF has a 35 percent

success rate if you’re under 40; if you’re older, it’s more like 10 percent.

3. Going on the pill in an attempt to “stockpile”

your eggs-F.Y.I.: The pill prevents new eggs from being released every month-for future fertilization opportunities is silly: The age of the eggs is the critical factor, not the amount. However, women on the pill are less likely to develop ovarian cancer.

I relayed these facts to my tricoteuse , but she was way over the knitting incident. She sighed and admitted that the real problem for many chicks was not a lack of

information, but foot-dragging sperm donors-i.e., ambivalent boyfriends.

“It’s made me totally nuts,” she said of the lack of a single reproductive instinct in the men she dates. “I now get furious with dates if they say they don’t want kids-even if I don’t like

them.” My advice: do a Céline Dion and schedule a pregnancy. Or, better yet, pull a Jodie Foster: bust out of the panic room of your waning fecundity and get yourself the couture sperm of your choice.

Attention, knitters: Unfortunately for you, this season is really more about crochet. The good news: There are some great little Cameron Diaz–ish flirty crochet numbers to be had at various price points. The best bargain is to be found at your local bebe store, where you can snag a classy-but-flirty nylon/cotton black crochet top for a mere $69.

It won’t keep your ovaries warm, but it might attract a few sperm donors.

P.S.: Please excuse the brevity of this column while I write my next book, entitled Wacky Chicks and

scheduled for publication by Simon & Schuster in spring 2003-just in time for Mother’s Day!