What does it mean to want a child but worry that you’re running out of time? This is a feeling that many women are grappling with as they try to align careers, relationships and starting a family, all before their biological window of opportunity closes.
In “Glass Eggs,” photographer and documentary Filmmaker Matilda Hay explores the phenomenon of egg freezing through the experiences, emotions, and motivations of women who have done it.
Each has a powerful story for why she has frozen her eggs: divorce, worries about job security, a partner who isn’t ready for kids, or no partner at all. They are all different, but united by their desire to one day become mothers.
By juxtaposing the stark scientific process with the humanity of each woman involved, Hay says this project aims to peel back the clinical facade and reveal the layers of complicated emotions beneath—from loss and ambiguous grief to resilience and hope; the pressure to have it all, and feelings of failure for not being where they thought they would be.
The photographer highlights how we still view fertility as a female burden for the female body—men are not faced with the same messaging, pressure, or anxiety. In 2019, 16,000 women in America froze their eggs and in 2020, clinics reported a 50% increase due to the pandemic. Although egg freezing is physically intense, prohibitively expensive—one cycle costs $10,000—and not guaranteed to work, this process can offer hope and empowerment to women in a situation that is otherwise beyond their control. Yet the fact that it’s becoming so expected feels like a slippery slope, a new unequal standard that women must live up to.