- Jennifer "Jay" Palumbo
What is Egg Freezing And Why You Might Want to Pursue Fertility Preservation
Photo by nine koepfer on Unsplash
For the past four decades, women have increasingly had their first child later in life. According to a study in 2012 by the National Center for Health Statistics, there were more than 9 times as many first births to women 35 and older than 40 years ago.
In addition, between 2000 and 2017, births to women ages 35-39 increased 30 percent, and births to women 40 and over increased 39 percent. Factor in that 1 in 8 couples has trouble getting pregnant, which makes knowing your fertility health important to explore whether egg freezing may be right for you.
What is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing, known as “oocyte cryopreservation,” is when eggs are retrieved from your ovaries, frozen, and then stored.
The freezing process is called vitrification. Vitrification is a “fast freeze” that preserves your eggs at the age you were at the time of the retrieval. As a result, vitrification reduces the chances of ice crystal formations on the egg and presents less risk to the egg during the thawing process.
Why Freeze Your Eggs?
It could be that you are single but know you want to have children down the road, that you’re married, but you and your partner are not ready to have a child yet, or you may be facing a health crisis and want to freeze healthy eggs before beginning any treatments.
A 2018 study at De Montfort University found that single women chose to freeze their eggs to buy time until they could find a “suitable partner” for themselves. Most of the women in the study were single, and their average age was 37. By having their eggs frozen, they could extend the window of time in which they might achieve genetic motherhood. Freezing eggs also allows you to delay having children if you feel that you are not yet ready to be a parent but want to leave the door open to pursue motherhood in the future.
A serious medical diagnosis like cancer requiring treatment is difficult at any stage of life. But if that diagnosis happens during a woman’s fertile years, it can feel like a double whammy if you plan to have a baby. Either cancer or the treatment may affect your fertility, and freezing eggs allows for parenthood possibilities after treatments have been completed and you are in remission.
How Much Does Egg Freezing Cost?
According to Fertility IQ, one cycle of egg freezing costs an average of just under $16,000 across the United States. That cost includes the egg retrieval procedure, medications, and storage for the frozen eggs. However, total prices can vary, particularly for the medications, because some patients may require more aggressive stimulation to retrieve the eggs.
Also, of course, different clinics may have additional charges, so it may cost more depending on which clinic you choose. Egg storage is paid annually, so you will pay to store the frozen eggs until you are ready to undergo IVF treatment.
Women typically do two cycles of egg retrieval for freezing, and older women (age 36 and up) are most likely to do multiple cycles. So what is the value in more than one cycle? Studies suggest that the more eggs a woman freezes, the more likely she will have a live birth.
Does Insurance Cover Egg Freezing?
Because egg freezing is not generally considered medically necessary, health insurance usually covers the costs. However, even if the procedures and tests may be covered, the medications rarely are, and they can be around $5,000 to $7,000.
Interestingly, your health insurance is more likely to cover egg-freezing retrieval if you work in the technology sector. In addition, some health insurance will cover at least part of the procedures if you undergo cancer treatment or if you have an infertility diagnosis.
If you do not have coverage or are concerned about affording fertility preservation, EggFund can help! We are a unique platform with the largest network of leading national lenders. Be matched with your pre-approved offers in 60 seconds. Checking your loan offers does not negatively impact your credit score. However, your credit score will be affected once you choose an offer and formally apply with a lender.
How to See If You’re a Candidate for Egg Freezing
If learning more interests you, your very first step would be to go to your OB/GYN or a reproductive endocrinologist to get a fertility workup. This entails running blood tests to check your Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), estradiol, and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). Then, an ultrasound is performed to examine the number of follicles on your ovaries. The number of follicles you have directly correlated with the number of eggs in your ovarian reserve. In general, a woman is born with roughly two million eggs in her ovaries that slowly diminish the older she gets. The blood work, ultrasound, and a review of any health issues or family history can give the doctor an overview of your fertility health.
Your doctor will walk you through all of your results, and then you can discuss whether egg freezing is something you want to pursue.
Whether you pursue fertility preservation or not, we recommend having a fertility wellness check to strive to be proactive should you want to have a family down the road. You have so many avenues to explore, options you can pursue, and EggFund is happy to help you afford each one!