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Egg Freezing - how did you pay for it or plan to pay for it?

teresaman's profile thumbnail
Thanks for asking this! I'd love to hear how others have been thinking about this too.
Thanks for sharing! I'm always in awe of the bravery of women to speak publicly about this and help us all make informed decisions.
iynna's profile thumbnail
I totally agree! It has to be normalised and I feel so grateful that these options exist for women like you or I who might want to have a family in the future!
isla's profile thumbnail
Dissenting voice here: I don't trust it. I'm not having children, full stop, so my opinion may be biased here, but if you were someone in my friend circle I'd advise against it.
teresaman's profile thumbnail
Curious to learn more of your take — what about it don't you trust?
isla's profile thumbnail
(1/3)So, before anything else, I'll clarify my background and biases so if anyone wants to skip my opinion here based on the below, they can:- I am not a doctor or any sort of medical professional, but I am passionate about biology. When I say in my bio that I would go back to school if I could afford it, that's what I'd do. - I'm the eldest child of a mother who had her children "late" and saw firsthand the effects it had on her pregnancies, her body after pregnancy, and on my siblings. I've also seen the women in my aunt's (very large) family go through multiple pregnancies at different life stages ranging from 15-40. (Yes it's limited to one family, but it has been interesting to see how varied the experiences can be within a single family.) I would be happy to go into the specifics of what I've seen within my family and how those pregnancies have differed if it would be helpful to anyone. Between both these facts, my conclusion has been that if OP were a personal friend, and *knew for a fact* that she wanted children, I would advise her to go for it sooner, rather than freeze her eggs and try later. Put another way, I've heard it said that "Egg freezing is a hope, not a promise" and this is something with which I agree so strongly that I'll do rude things like this where I poke my head into a conversation that doesn't affect me directly. To list my concerns plainly:- While implantation rates have improved since the early days of egg freezing (up from 1 baby in 100 embryos in the 1990s) they still aren't great. What's more, even the available numbers could be misleading, as there is such a dearth of follow-up research that even those looking to study the topic have remarked upon it in literature reviews. (Source: 1) In one study only 6.4% of the original 1283 oocytes resulted in a live birth. (Source: 2)- Women who become pregnant at later ages have a higher risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, non-elective C-sections, and preterm delivery/low birth weight. There is also a risk of "congenital structual abnormalities" with any IVF, though the specifics are still under review as of 2019. (Source: 3) There's also the risk of miscarraige, which has been found to be an independent risk factor so strong that once women reach the age of 42, over half (54.5%) of pregnancies will result in spontaneous abortion (Source: 4)On a side note more related to my field of experience, there's also the issue of relying on 3rd parties to protect your frozen eggs (See this article, as an example of what can go wrong: 5)
isla's profile thumbnail
(2/3)The American Society for Reproductive Medicine only moved egg freezing out of "experimental" status in 2012, when they did, they also released an official statement which cautioned "The issue of false security is highlighted when planned OC [ocyte cryopreservation] is referred to as an‘‘insurance policy’’for future childbearing, raising a concern that women may rely too confidently on their preserved oocytes." (Source: 6)Two years later, back in 2014, there was this famous article titled "Freeze your eggs, Free your career." (retitled to "Later, Baby: Will Freezing Your Eggs Free Your Career?" Full text: 7) which followed a woman named Brigitte Adams on her journey to freeze her eggs. Even then the article faced pushback critiquing the rose-colored view of the procedure. Rewire criticized it was "insulting to women" (Source: 8) for framing egg freezing as a wise business decision, rather than acknowledging the root cause of systemic injustices which make motherhood untenable for certain sections of the population. Even Wired released an article "The Sobering Facts About Egg Freezing That Nobody's Talking About" (Full text: 9) which called out the type of risks I outlined above, but also highlighted the lack of oversight in the industry at the time as well as the fact that live births are NOT being treated as a success metric (which is why you don't tend to see them in brochures, etc.)Cut to 2018, and this article comes out "The struggle to conceive with frozen eggs" (Full text: 10), and it's Brigitte Adams again. It's only 4 years later and she's lost all her eggs: "Two eggs failed to survive the thawing process. Three more failed to fertilize. That left six embryos, of which five appeared to be abnormal. The last one was implanted in her uterus. On the morning of March 7, she got the devastating news that it, too, had failed. Adams was not pregnant, and her chances of carrying her genetic child had just dropped to near zero. She remembers screaming like “a wild animal,” throwing books, papers, her laptop — and collapsing to the ground. “It was one of the worst days of my life. There were so many emotions. I was sad. I was angry. I was ashamed,” she said. “I questioned, ‘Why me?’ ‘What did I do wrong?’”" She also wrote her own account of the story over on eggsurance (Source: 11) a website that she herself started.More recently, in 2019 MIT Technology Review released "Don’t count on having kids if you freeze your eggs" (Full text: 12) which follows Michele Harrison, a woman who froze her eggs at 41 but who luckily was able to bring her single remaining embryo to term. That same year also saw the release of "Don’t Put All Your (Frozen) Eggs in One Basket" in the NY Times (Full text: 13). It seems the women who were freezing in the mid-2010s are now thawing, but not to the results they were promised. All this while the industry itself is booming. In the UK alone oocyte preservation jumped 2813% (not a typo - Source: 14) and the fertility industry as a whole now sits around $13 Billion/year (Full text: 15). That latter article, by the way, also contains a story from a woman who was unable to use her eggs even after spending $50,000 on the process.
Appreciate your perspective! It's a big decision and the risk should be weighted accordingly, will certainly look more into the sources you suggested.
smichalczuk's profile thumbnail
There are three options:1. Get a new job. (Coverage varies wildly by employer - take a look at a few that are tracked: fertilityiq.com/topics/ivf/the-fertilityiq-family-builder-workplace-index-2019-2020). You would need to verify before accepting the job offer that they cover fertility "preservation" and not just IVF. Get this in writing, and make sure to do it as soon as possible because these benefits can be reduced at any time.2. Start dating someone who works at one of these companies and get on their health insurance.3. Get cancer.Assume it will actually cost closer to $30,000 if you are over 30 because you'll probably need more than one cycle to get the results you desire, and assume that storage costs could go up at double-digit rates year-over-year. Even FAANG benefits usually only include three years worth of storage.If you are an extremely valuable or senior employee, you may also be able to persuade your HR department to add these benefits.I am only sort of joking about all of this. My startup, predictaBill.com, is a health insurance advisor for U.S. consumers and we help many people financially strategize around minimizing bills associated with getting pregnant (among other things), but there's unfortunately very little that you can do to get egg freezing covered if you aren't working for a generous company or aren't independently wealthy.
Hi Carley, I'm currently doing it right now. I'm 34, engaged, but not ready to have children yet. I'm based in the UK where it costs about GBP 5k all in + storage which is GBP 336 annually. I'm not sure if travelling is an option to do it?
Thanks for sharing, is this covered by the NHS or did you pay out of pocket? I've started looking into going abroad to Spain and possibly Mexico but still in the beginning of my search and not sure how the pandemic travel restrictions play into this.
cadran's profile thumbnail
@KathyGerlach actually built a service for this since it's so much less expensive abroad.
RachelBecker's profile thumbnail
This is a great question, Carley! I just started a new job after business school at a startup called Kindbody. We are on a mission to make family-building and fertility care accessible, intuitive and empowering for all. I truly believe in the mission of what we're doing, empowering women on their family journeys at all stages. We offer egg freezing services and work with most insurance carriers. If you are near one of our clinic locations (we have 7 and are growing!) can check us out: https://kindbody.com. Let me know if you have any questions I'm happy to chat more about the Kindbody brand and the services we offer!- Rachel
Kindbody is what empowered me to make this decision! Loved my experience in New York so much that it's what started this journey for me. Unfortunately I've since moved and am no longer near a Kindbody clinic. But for any Elpha's who are interested in this topic I also highly recommend Kindbody.
RachelBecker's profile thumbnail
That's fantastic, Carley! I'm so glad to hear that :) We are expanding our footprint too, so hopefully we'll be in a city near you soon! From our employer benefits side, we have a robust network of partner clinics (300 and growing) around the country (and globally!) which are aligned with us on our mission, pricing and quality of care.
MackenzieTudor's profile thumbnail
I went through this process last year. I was able to get most of it covered by my company, but my best friend went through it and paid all cash. The prices may depend heavily on where you live. I know I live in Boston and the prices were higher than my friends (Seattle). I would also say I would maybe inquire from a couple more places. For me, the biggest financial expense is the continued storage, some of the testing and honestly, the emotional/physical process of going through it. Granted, I am still glad I did, but I don' know if I would have done it if it wasn't covered. I know I wouldn't have done it so young (30). My fertility doctor said for people that are paying she usually would recommend they wait until closer to 35 (IF EVERYTHING ELSE IS HEALTHY/NORMAL). I would recommend every women get the testing because I do think the information can be powerful. Anyone, can message me if they want any more details about the process.
Thanks @MackenzieTudor! I've gotten the AMH test and everything looks good, agree every woman should get tested if they have access to it....knowledge is power! Would you be open to sharing how much storage costs and if that's covered by your company as well?
KatelynK's profile thumbnail
I looked back through the financials so I have LOTS of info for you below! I was in the same boat - I chose to freeze my eggs at 33 (in Nov. 2018), and my insurance only covered a small portion of the medications and not the procedure (at a significantly lower cost than what you've been quoted!). I went through Ova, based in Chicago, and felt extremely comfortable/confident with them (happy to discuss my full experience offline!). I know women who have come to Chicago for a couple weeks just to freeze their eggs with Ova, and it might be worth the trip considering the costs you've been quoted elsewhere, especially if you can work remotely! At the time (Nov. 2018), the cost of retrieval was $7750 minus a credit for the initial fertility tests ($300) and a 5% discount for paying in full, so I paid $7077.50 for the procedure. After what insurance covered for some meds (very little), my meds cost $3800. Ova offered a financing option for the procedure, but I paid in full to save the 5% and earn cash rewards through my credit card. I didn't have $11K cash sitting around, so I opened up a new credit card with a 12-month 0% interest promo, and also offered a $250 cash bonus, as well as earned 1.5% back in cash rewards on the purchase (Amex cash magnet card). So taking into account all the credit card rewards, my total cost was about $10,500 including the meds for one retrieval cycle. I ended up rolling over the balance to another 0% interest credit card offer later on, so I ultimately had a couple years to to pay it off! Storage fees were included the first year in the procedure cost, and following years have been $500/year. I was lucky and able to retrieve 17 viable eggs in the one procedure... but they also offered an additional discount if you pay up front for 2 rounds ($12,392 for 2 rounds if paid in full - plus meds, but I had sooooo many meds left over, they prob would have lasted for another round) (if your initial fertility tests indicate that you might need more than one round, that might be a huge cost saver overall - but also a roll of the dice, as you pay in advance before the first egg retrieval). I now live in NYC, so if I ever need my eggs, they will ship them to a fertility doctor in NY, or more likely, I'll go to Chicago for implantation so nothing happens to those precious eggs! I am sooooo happy I did it, despite not having the cash up front. They say the younger you do it the better, and I'm so happy/relieved to have my healthy, 33-year-old eggs on ice!! I'll likely be 37 when I have my first child (hopefully naturally), and it gives me such peace of mind that especially for a second or third child, my eggs will be ready if I need them.
Wow, thank you @KatelynK for these details. Very savvy of you to use cash back credit cards! Your journey has been incredibly insightful, really appreciate your help. I've noticed some places have storage plans where if you commit to a certain amount of years then they provide a discount, have you come across this?
KatelynK's profile thumbnail
No problem! I didn't see that with storage plans, but am glad I didn't pay up front for multiple years' storage -- my partner's employer now offers fertility benefits and will probably cover the storage fees going forward! :)
mariw's profile thumbnail
Where are you located? That estimate seems very high for 1 cycle. My egg freezing cycle in SF with RMA Northern California was $8,000 plus $2-3K in medications and $650 for the anesthesia that paid to a separate doctor. In total, I spent around $11-12K for 1 cycle and 1st year of storage is free, with the same price of $600/yr for storage thereafter. I used FertilityIQ as a resource to find highly reviewed doctors in my area & ultimately picked RMA b/c I had a friend who had a great experience with them. My cycle was all out of pocket -- I looked into getting a loan, but was getting quoted 8-9% interest which is just ridiculous! My fiance and I split the cost evenly and paid up front. If you can get a line of credit with a much lower rate, I would recommend looking into this option rather than using something like Future Family or some of the other egg freezing specific lenders.
KateLGrant's profile thumbnail
Not sure where you are in the world but try looking at Lilia (https://www.hellolilia.com/) - I know the founder so I'm probably biased but they are looking at cutting the cost down as well to help women with their fertility.
Thanks for the suggestion!