Zayna’s story: ‘The pressure I felt was finally gone’

Zayna Hamarneh who started her egg freezing journey

Two years ago, an Instagram post helped change the way women in Jordan think about their fertility.

Zayna Hamarneh, a 36-year-old communications professional from Amman, started sharing her life on social media long before “influencer” became a buzzword. But in March 2021, an emotionally charged post encouraging women to freeze their eggs went viral—and her life hasn’t been the same since.

“I was always in touch with my body,” she said. “While my mother took me to a gynaecologist as soon as I got my period, I didn’t learn much about my fertility—so  I educated myself by reading extensively. I’ve also always wanted to be a mother. The problem was that at 35, I still hadn’t met the right person, and I wasn’t getting any younger. I knew I needed to freeze my eggs to give myself the best chance of having a family.”

At Ovasave, we believe that stories have power. So we’re asking a series of women like you to share their individual egg freezing journeys. For our first story, we’d like to introduce you to Zayna Hamarneh, the CEO and co-founder of a PR and marketing firm in Jordan. We hope she inspires you as much as she has inspired us.

The problem? At that time, egg freezing wasn’t a common practice in Jordan, where Zayna lives. She spoke to doctors who wouldn’t perform the procedure because she was unmarried. Others didn’t understand why she wanted to do it and didn’t think it was necessary.

Eventually, through a friend who happened to be a gynaecologist, Zayna  was able to have some fertility testing done, but she still couldn’t  find a  doctor who would actually do the procedure.

On Mother’s Day, Zayna called  to some of the mothers in her life, saying “Inshallah, I’d like to be a mother someday too.”

Most were supportive. But a few seemed to think her dreams of motherhood were unrealistic given her age and the fact that she was still single.

“I know they meant well, but it was very hurtful,” she said. “And I didn’t want other women like me to feel the way I did.”

Zayna decided to share her thoughts

So after some thought, Zayna decided to share her thoughts on social media.“People around me laugh when I say phrases like, ‘One day, when I get children,” she wrote. “ Their replies are always, ‘I never knew you wanted kids; you’re always working!’ Or ‘You seriously still have hope…at this age?’ Well, I thought I would be married by now too, but I haven’t met the right partner yet. That doesn’t mean I don’t want children. Many ladies my age haven’t found their right partners or lifetime (whatever that is) companions till now, but we do want to have children! We do want families, and we do want to be in love. EGG FREEZING is definitely an option.”

“It went viral overnight,” Zayna said. “People were amazed that I had been so bold, and they thanked me. At the time I didn’t think I had done anything special.”

A local reproductive endocrinologist who specialised in egg freezing reached out to her after reading her post and offered to help. He’d done hundreds of egg collections for cancer patients who wanted to preserve their fertility, and he wanted to help Zayna too.

Zayna visited him for a consultation within a few weeks and had the procedure just two months later. She now has eight beautiful eggs that will be waiting for her whenever she is ready.

“Learning to give myself the injections was hard,” she admits. “I had to watch a YouTube tutorial to figure it out the first time, but it got easier. I also had some physical side effects. But it was so worth it. Three days after the procedure, it hit me, and I cried. A weight completely lifted off my shoulders. The pressure I felt was finally gone–it was incredibly freeing.”

After seeing the overwhelming response from her post, Zayna knew how many women like her needed to know that egg freezing was an option.

“I felt a responsibility to go out there and speak about it,” she said. “And so I have—and the responses haven’t stopped. I’ve been asked to advocate for women’s issues, and people have stopped me when I’m out to say thank you for sharing. Once a gynaecologist even came up to me in a club, and said I had changed the industry in Jordan–so many more women were freezing their eggs. I was amazed, and so thankful that I’ve helped some other young women realise that they don’t have an expiry date, and that egg freezing is an amazing way to preserve their fertility.”

Zayna responsibility

Her only regret is not being able to do it sooner. “I would have liked to do it at 27 or 28, when my egg quality was better,” she said. “But I’m blessed, because I ended up doing it with the right people.”

Zayna is also thankful for her parents, who were so supportive throughout the process. “They were behind me all the way,” she says. “My mother went with me to my first consultation. My father even talks about it. When people ask him about grandchildren, he says they’re chilling in the freezer!”

Zayna hopes that her story will encourage other women to see a gynaecologist and learn about their fertility—even if they’re unmarried.

“When it’s something women-related, the world tries to make it taboo,” she said. “But it shouldn’t be. Medical science is there to help us. If you want to have children someday, consider freezing your eggs—and don’t listen to the people who say you shouldn’t. Thirty-five is very different now than it was in our parents’ generation. I always thought I’d have a child at 25. But looking back, I was a child at 25. I wasn’t ready then. I’m ready now.”

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