The Hidden Costs of Egg Freezing

February 20, 2015 at 5:39 pm 2 comments

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve been hearing a lot about egg freezing (medical name: oocyte cryopreservation).  First of all, let me say it: I’m a BIG fan of egg freezing.   100% behind this.  Why?  Because it gives women options.

Egg freezing allows childbearing to be postponed in the interest of pursuing higher education, establishing a career, achieving financial stability, finding the right partner, and doing all of the things people do in their 20’s and 30’s.

But this blog post is dedicated to the hidden costs.  I’m talking finances, people.  This post isn’t about the pros and cons of ‘delayed childbearing’ (a phrase which sounds pretty judgmental already).  It’s about the logistics.  I already have a Jewish mother to tell me about the other stuff.  I’m sure you too have somebody doling out the same well-meaning advice (but maybe without the amazing brisket).

So, back to cold hard cash. If you read online about fertility preservation, you’ll see that the cost varies.  Estimates for the egg freezing hover around the $10,000 mark per cycle.  But, what does that mean?  Why would a woman undergo more than one egg freezing cycle?

When a woman goes through an egg freezing procedure, the number of eggs produced will vary.  It will vary depending on a number of factors including age.  Younger women tend to produce more eggs per cycle.  There are other factors too, but age is a biggie.

Some women, including women under 35, will not produce the desired number of eggs with one cycle alone.  I say ‘the desired number’ because that varies too. Some doctors recommend freezing approximately 10 eggs.  Some say 20.  There is no hard-and-fast rule.  A woman may then choose to undergo one or more additional cycles in order to achieve that desired number of eggs.

Also, some of those eggs will not be of sufficient quality to survive the freezing process.  Among those that survive, some will bear genetic material which is abnormal.  That’s also a concern that increases with age.  So older women may choose to freeze more eggs because they are concerned that a larger percentage of the frozen eggs will not produce a healthy baby.

So, the older a woman is, the more likely she may undergo more than one cycle.  This hidden cost can significantly increase the expense of egg freezing.

Another potential hidden cost is storage.  It costs an average of $500 per year to store frozen eggs.  That’s just an estimate– the actual number will vary by location, clinic, and other factors.

Bear in mind, the longer the eggs are stored, the more you’re paying.  So if you’re not using the eggs for 10 years, that could be another $5,000 you’re shelling out (pun intended).

So ok.  Now you’re ready to use your eggs.  Mazal tov (from my mother).

The eggs will neeed to be thawed and fertilized, and the resulting embryo(s) will be implanted in your womb or the womb of your surrogate.  This is IVF (in-vitro fertilization).  You’ve probably heard of IVF.  Usually, IVF involves embryos that are fresh or frozen.  The difference here is that the embryo is created fresh from your frozen egg.  You got that?

The thing to know is that IVF costs money.  The money pays for thawing and fertilizing the egg (to create the embryo), using medicines to prepare the uterus for pregnancy, and implanting the embryo.  This can cost several thousand dollars.  AGAIN.

So, now the embryo is implanted in the uterus and is growing nicely.  Eventually, it will become a fetus.  And then, with luck, a healthy baby.  And guess what babies cost– MORE MONEY.  You thought egg freezing and IVF was expensive?  Ha!  Try clothing, feeding and educating a kid.

But the good news is that my mother tells me it’s totally worth it.  Grandchildren, after all, are priceless.

 

 

 

 

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Entry filed under: Gynecology. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mrs R  |  July 15, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Hi dr

    I have missed my periods for 21 days niw but since three to four days i m experiencing watery discharge in little amount
    can it be a symptom of pregnancy as i m married and its first time i have missed my periods for so long time

    pls do suggest something

    i have not done my pregnancy test yet

    Reply
    • 2. drnicoll  |  October 2, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      Hi R,
      As I have said numerous times on this blog, I do not dispense individual medical advice on this site. Please call your doctor or see a physician at an emergency room/urgent care.
      Best regards,
      Dr N

      Reply

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Linda M. Nicoll, MD

Welcome to my blog! Here you will find information about minimally invasive gynecologic surgery as well as some more general information about common gynecologic disorders such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids, infertility, and pelvic pain.

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