• Serious Question: Should I Freeze My Eggs?

    Whether you’ve seen the awkward “freeze your eggs” infertility Instagram posts {designed to give SEVERE anxiety to the average 20-something or 30-something scroller} OR not, if you’re of child-bearing age, it’s not the craziest thing ever to think about fertility and your future. Going for egg retrieval is something that is not very openly discussed, but is actually becoming more common than you’d think, especiallyin women in their early 30s. A reader {who wishes to remain anonymous submitted a question about “egg freezing” and what it entails. Below, Dr. Meika of CarePoint Health breaks down the basics of egg freezing. We figured Q & A format would be a good way to make this easy to digest, since it’s quite an expansive topic that deserves a slow introduction.

    Freezing eggs fertility pregnancy

    Here’s more about egg freezing and the basics of how it all works:

    Q: Why do women freeze their eggs?

    A: There are many reasons, but the top three are:

    1. “I’m too busy to have kids right now.”
    2. ” I haven’t found a suitable partner to have kids with right now.”
    3. A medical reason: medications, chemo, radiation — which may damage the ovaries.

    Q: Is egg freezing covered by insurance?

    A: Mostly, no. However, sometimes the medications are covered. But, some companies are considering in their health plans — including Facebook and Apple.

    Q: How much does freezing your eggs cost?

    A: Yes, it’s VERY expensive! This is not a cheap “motherhood insurance plan”.  Egg retrieval costs $10,000 – $15,000 per batch. Storage is $1000 per year, and thawing, fertilization, and IVF can cost $5,000 to $15,000. Your estimated total is between $25,000-$40,000 for one batch.

    Q: How many women are freezing their eggs?

    A: The numbers have dramatically increased since the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) gave egg-freezing the thumbs-up for infertility. In 2009, 500 women froze their eggs. In 2013, 5,000 women in the USA froze their eggs. In 2018, it’s estimated that about 76,000 women will freeze their eggs.

    Q: What is the success rate?

    A: Please note: This is not the panacea to delayed gratification so to speak, so far the live-birth rate for egg freezing is just under 24% or rather a 77% failure rate. The failure rate increases as the fertilized woman ages [failure rates of 91 percent in women over age 40 have been reported]. Most doctors often recommend having a several dozen eggs frozen to maximize success with multiple tries at fertilizing the thawed egg.

    Q: Will the baby be healthy?

    A. It’s unfortunate to say that after spending all of the money, we still don’t know yet.

    Here are two serious concerns to consider:

    1. Women don’t know if their eggs are genetically healthy until they’re thawed and fertilized.

    2. No one knows how much of the chemicals used in the freezing process are absorbed by eggs, and whether they are toxic to the cell development.

    Q: Okay, so I have some savings, and I want to wait to have a baby. When should I freeze my eggs?

    A: Please do NOT stress about this and your current age/relationship status/career plans/financial situation. In terms of the cost-benefit analysis, every 20-year-old should not go and freeze their eggs, nor should every person over 40 who may want another baby go out and freeze. 30-34 is the best age range that maximizes your chances of having a healthy baby without “wasting” a large sum of money, but you may need the money for college tuition if it works, or for the Mediterranean couples-only adult cruise. And that’s okay. 

    Freezing eggs is something that is incredibly personal, very expensive, and not the right choice for everyone. But it’s good to know the facts and consider your options — should you want to have a baby at some point in the future {but don’t feel ready}. And now that we’ve dropped that knowledge and probably piqued your anxiety, it’s time to practice some self care.

    Have a question for Dr. Meika? Email hello@HobokenGirl.com {we’ll keep it anonymous if you’d like}.


    Written by:

    Meika {or rather Dr. Meika} is an emergency medicine physician turned administrator. She is currently the chief medical officer at CarePoint Health in Hoboken and she loves her job and the patients. When she's not at CarePoint, she dedicates her time and career to help against rape and human trafficking. Though originally from Boston, Meika lives in Hoboken with her husband and their dog Brooklyn. You may see her around town walking the dog, jogging or cycling through the streets, or just walking to work. If she hadn’t become a doctor she would have become a photojournalist with a camera and a backpack traveling to barely seen areas of the world {like Sean Penn in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty}.


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