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More Black Women Are Deciding To Freeze Their Eggs For The Same Reason As Angela Rye

Motherhood

The recent decade has been a progressive era for black girl magicians. Not only are we casting spells as we dazzle the world in the essence that is our magic from a physical standpoint, but we are also demystifying road blocks and glass ceilings at every turn.


On a daily basis, we witness female professionals of color slay their patriarchal nemesis with ease. But it seems our only kryptonite is our biological clocks. No matter how much we accomplish, we must succumb to the time limits and chronological deadlines set by our bodies. Especially for those of us who hope to be mothers.

But to that, more and more millennial women of color of today have begun to say, "Naw." Women are taking back control of their lives professionally, financially, and of course, that authority is lending itself to their reproductive lives as well. Recently, 38-year-old political analyst Angela Rye opened up about her decision to undergo the process of oocyte cryopreservation, most commonly called: egg freezing.

Our bodies seem to impose just as much pressure as society does when it comes to when and how we conceive. Rye told Refinery29 that she made the decision to freeze her eggs in January in attempt to protect her energy and her womb from the stress of an intense professional life:

"I froze my eggs in January, and because I have such a stressful life, I wanted to try to create a nurturing environment for eggs to grow."

We feel pressured by our loved ones and our bodies to have children within a timeline, despite the commitment we've made to our dreams and careers. By age 30, our egg count is reduced to less than half of the number that we have as teenagers making infertility more likely the older we get; women diagnosed with fibroids or endometriosis are burdened with an even shorter timeline.

Angela Rye is among the league of women sparking debate among black women about having options. She said that she decided to freeze her eggs after she learned that her egg count was low.

"I've never been governed by a biological clock. I still feel like whatever I decide to do with my body is between me and my maker. But I first looked into it when I was turning 35 because they say your egg count goes down around that age, so I looked into it as a just in case. And after they ran some tests, I learned my egg reserve number was low. That scared me! But it also wasn't an instant decision, because to be honest, the process is expensive. So I came back a few years later and this time, I went through the process and did some acupuncture and they were able to retrieve seven fully developed eggs — which isn't the 20-something they typically hope for. But I'm good with seven, because that's my favorite number, so it felt like it meant something. Now, I don't feel any pressure as far as work timelines or relationships...I can just focus on my purpose and know that I have that option there if I want it."

As women, we have options in our careers, lipstick colors, what we eat, and what clothes we choose to wear: but not when we choose to have a baby.

curlBOX founder and all-around boss woman Myleik Teele has always had a silver lining about becoming mother, despite the emphasis she placed on building a fruitful career. Now, the entrepreneur is a proud mother to a son named Noah. But when she was 35, she got her wakeup call that if she wanted to become a mother one day, she'd have to start looking into options to secure the future pregnancy she one day hoped to carry. Enter egg freezing:

"When I turned 35, I went to the doctor and she basically told me, 'Your eggs are dying, you'll never have a baby!' and I start freaking out. I went to the fertility doctor and I'm like I should freeze my eggs and they're like your AMH level is too low. I spent $12,000 dollars buying all of these shots and stuff, giving myself 5 shots a day, and the doctor's like, 'Basically, your fertility is low so you have a year to get pregnant.' I went through a really dark period because I just went and did all of this stuff, and only to find out that I may not have the opportunity."

Motivational speaker and entrepreneur Tai Beauchamp told xoNecole that her decision to freeze her eggs came during the height of her professional career after realizing she wanted insurance so that when she was ready to be pregnant, she could be, no matter her age:

"If I met a partner and I wanted to have a child next week and we decided to get pregnant, I don't think we'd have a problem getting pregnant. But I just did it because I want the insurance. It was just about options for me."

After a tumultuous hormone injection process, Beauchamp had successfully completed the egg freezing procedure. Beauchamp conquered her kryptonite and it is a decision that she doesn't regret. Nowadays, she does her best to spread the wealth she's gained by sharing her experience in a community where fertility isn't often a topic of discussion:

"There have been comments made about how fertile black women are, but simultaneously we're not having open conversations about fibroids, we're not having open conversations about endometriosis, we're just beginning to speak more now with more than 50% of the people being in college or graduating college being African-American women, that our partner and dating pool is changing. But if we start to think about investing in relationships in a different way earlier and sooner, the dynamics would shift too."

Beauchamp and Rye's stories are rarities, often unattainable by many women of color. In the past, egg freezing wasn't an option for black women due to the price point: a single phase can cost $5,000 or more. The increased success and shift of black female professionals on the economic landscape has made the procedure more accessible, but not accessible enough.

Rye and Beauchamp agree that it's important to normalize the egg freezing process and hope that opening up about their experiences will spark conversation and incite more health insurance companies to cover the procedure. Rye said that she hopes that openly discussing her own procedure will inspire other black women to explore their options:

"Well, the thing is, it's so expensive, so from an economic standpoint, it can be cost-prohibitive. So it's a conversation we're afraid to even have. But I feel like we have to if we ever want this process to feel more normal and more attainable. My manager actually encouraged me to document my whole process in case one day I want to share it with the world and show other Black women what it's really like."

Innovations in medicine and technology like egg freezing have allowed professional black women to unapologetically gain control of their personal, professional, reproductive goals. Rye is proof that being a millenial woman is lit, we really can have it all.

Read her full feature with Refinery29 by clicking here.

Featured image by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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