Ever Considered Freezing Your Eggs?
May 3 2023 | Written by Rhea Kumar (She/Her)
As of 2023, egg freezing has sort of exploded, not only in Google searches, but it has transitioned from an obscure treatment reserved for the ultra rich and those who might need it medically, to an elective option for females who are planning ahead.
Egg freezing, known as oocyte cryopreservation, was developed in the 1980s. It was labeled as an experimental procedure reserved for those with serious medical conditions who wanted to ensure their medical treatment didn’t risk infertility.
In 2012, the experimental label was removed from the procedure, and since then, elective egg freezing has undergone a sort of rebranding as a progressive way to plan for your family, while caring for yourself.
Why Do People Undergo Elective Egg Freezing?
Personally speaking, as a twenty-something who has now crawled down the egg freezing rabbit hole, it sort of seems like a no-brainer as to why so many are choosing to undergo this procedure.
A female’s peak reproductive years are between their teens and late twenties. By age 30, fertility begins to decline, and after 35, the decline only increases.
It got me thinking, the peak years of my reproductive capacity also coincides with the years I’m dedicating to figuring out my life, finishing school, starting a career, and embracing the art of living. It’s difficult to balance all of these things on top of the task of finding a partner to have children with.
More than ever before, we’re delaying having children. In 2016, more babies were born to Canadian women over 35 to women in their early 20s. The Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine (PCRM) reported an 180 percent increase in the number of women freezing their eggs
Dr. Caitlin Dunne at PCRM says that the majority of the cases are women who may have been pursuing education or their job, or travel and personal pursuits.”They find themselves in their 30s without a partner or without the immediate prospect of having a baby.”
What is the Process Like?
Easier than you think! Once a doctor has established that you’re a suitable candidate for the process, here’s what it’ll look like:
- Self injection with two or three hormone medications every day for 10-12 days. This can be done with a friend or partner if you need assistance. This ensures that a group of eggs develop simultaneously
- To track the development of the eggs during this period, you’ll be required to take 4-6 pelvic ultrasounds and frequent blood work
- When the eggs have matured, you’ll undergo an ultrasound guided surgical procedure to retrieve them. This takes 20-30 minutes under anesthesia.
- An embryologist will verify that the eggs are mature, and that they are in a state to become fertilized.
How Much Does It Cost?
Despite egg freezing becoming the new norm, it doesn’t mean that the price of it will come cheap.
In Canada, the price is around $10,000 but you’ll also need to factor in the cost of storing your eggs annually, which will be around $300. However, these numbers can vary depending on your clinic. Don’t forget the cost of in vitro fertilization if you decide to use the eggs, which can cost about $6,000.
In the U.S., without insurance, the process can cost anywhere from $10,000 - $20,000. Currently there are 19 states that require insurance companies to supply coverage for infertility treatments. Some insurance companies only cover egg freezing that is deemed medically necessary. For our U.S readers, Mrs. Dow Jones, a.k.a Haley Saks delved into the world of egg freezing and finances and even shared her own story. It’s worth giving a read if you’re interested.
What Age is Too Early? Too Late?
Back in 2015, egg freezing at the age of 37 seemed early, but fast forward to today, there are 25 year olds openly discussing their egg freezing journeys. Thanks to influencers like Shania Bhopa, better known as @wellbyshania, has openly taken her followers through her journey, and even interviewed her fertility specialist. Dr. Meivys Garcia to answer any burning questions people might have.
Dr. Garcia says that the ages 24-34 are great ages to consider the process.