Earlier this year, I froze my eggs. It was a very spur of the moment decision. I woke up one morning and thought, “I’d like to freeze my eggs.” My next thought was “I’d like to eat a strawberry chicken salad for lunch today.” And I made both things happen. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I think my subconsciousness was telling me that this was something smart to do before I turned 30.
I’m really happy I did this. I unfortunately don’t have any interest in having children now. Most of my co-workers have children and they are wonderful parents as they spend a lot of time with their children and are very involved with their lives. Previously, the idea of children was very abstract to me. But now that I’ve observed what it’s actually like to be a good parent, I have a much better idea of what it entails. Freezing my eggs will buy me time to make this decision.
The actual process of freezing my eggs wasn’t that bad at all. I just called the fertility office, set up an initial consultation appointment, and got the go-ahead after they checked my ovarian reserve, which is the functional capacity of my ovaries, and ran some blood tests. Everything looked good and I was on my way. One of the first things to do is to spend a ridiculous amount of money on fertility medication, which you can pick up at your local drugstore.
Once I started the fertility shots, things really got underway. The shots weren’t bad at all. There are instructional videos online that teach you how to administer them yourself. You don’t even think about them anymore after a few days, it just becomes second nature.
Around the sixth day, there was a feeling of heaviness and I felt like there was something growing inside me. I felt like Noomi Rapace in Prometheus when she finds out there’s an alien growing inside her, she climbs into the medpod, the medpod cuts her open, yanks out the alien octopus baby like a claw crane yanking out an overpriced toy, and then staples her back up. Note to all the ladies reading this: DO NOT watch the clip if you plan to have your eggs frozen. Bad idea.
During the last few days of shots, the heaviness feeling just got stronger. My tummy also got more bloated. I didn’t exactly look pregnant but around the fifth or sixth day, my pants didn’t zip all the way up. I went in every morning around the last week for an ultrasound so the nurse could monitor how the follicles were growing in my ovaries and administer some more blood tests. Things were growing at a good pace and the doctor kept adjusting the dosage of fertility shots I would inject myself with every day. I felt a little weird but there was no pain.
But during the morning of the procedure, I woke up feeling incredibly nauseous and quite terrible. I had never felt this nauseous before in my life. The heaviness feeling started to feel overwhelming. I guess that alien octopus baby wanted out RIGHT NOW.
I made my way to the fertility clinic and once I got on the operating table, the anesthesiologist got to work and I conked out. “100, 99 … ZZZZZZZZ …. Electric sheep. ” When I woke up, the doctor told me how many eggs he retrieved. I gave him a high five.
I felt great if a little groggy. The nausea and feeling of heaviness had completely gone away. I didn’t feel any bad side effects after. I honestly felt fantastic. The hills are alive with the sound of music!
Just to be clear, freezing an egg doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have one baby. It’s not like a magician waving a wand and then suddenly, TA-DA! Presto, chango, this egg has transformed into a baby. Frozen eggs are like baby sea turtles making their way to the ocean. Not all of them make it. There’s always a jerk hawk that swoops in out of nowhere and eats the baby sea turtle.
When you thaw the eggs, some go bad. When you mix the egg with the sperm to create an embryo, not all embryos are good. When the embryo is implanted in the mother, not all of the implantations take. There’s this stat that 10-20 frozen eggs means one healthy child. (That stat varies based on how old you are when you froze your eggs - the younger, the better - but gosh, that’s a pretty tight funnel). I don’t plan on having more than one kid, if any, so I figure I’m good to go.
Having said all this, I am confident I made the right decision for myself. If you are a young woman reading this and you have the financial means to do so, this might be something to consider. My entire out of pocket cost (for the procedure, the medication, the ultrasounds, the blood tests) was around $12K (not including the annual egg storage costs after, which are several hundred dollars / yr). My health insurance, surprisingly enough, covered some of it. Egg freezing costs have actually gone down over the past few years and I think it may even go down more in the future. Companies like Apple and Facebook are even covering that cost for their employees.
In the past, women who wanted to have children unfortunately had to stick to a strict timeline. In your 30s, it’s now or never. I believe that freezing your eggs will give you more control over your life and hopefully help you make smart decisions about who to have children with.
Good luck, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
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An anthropological look at how people think about money. Created and edited by Star Li.