“Some are starting to make exceptions, however, and are offering partial or complete financial coverage for women that are considered high risk for conditions like premature menopause or are gearing up to undergo certain cancer treatments,” he explained.
But the majority of women have to pay out of pocket for egg freezing. The procedure can cost upward of $10,000, according to Becht. At her practice, for example, injections, egg retrieval and freezing costs about $6,300, medications vary from $3,000 to $7,000 depending on protocol, and yearly storage for the eggs is about $1,200 per year.
“Egg reserve testing refers to getting more information about one’s quantity of eggs,” Becht said, which includes a blood test and a transvaginal ultrasound to look at the follicles where the eggs are located. Additionally, testing for other hormones can be done at the beginning of your menstrual cycle to get additional information about how you may respond to egg freezing injections.
“This information, along with your age and medical history, will help in providing more information as to your potential success of the egg freezing process so that you can make a decision on whether or not to move forward with egg freezing,” Becht said, noting that testing the egg reserve does not necessarily measure the quality of your eggs, though.
You’ll have to do injections on yourself
Women undergoing the egg freezing process will be instructed to perform at-home hormone injections to stimulate their ovaries into producing multiple eggs in one menstrual cycle. Becht said the process of mixing and injecting medications is fairly easy to execute and noted that there are many how-to guides for you to reference, including online videos offered through pharmacies such as Freedom Fertility Pharmacy and instructions from your doctor. In-home injection services are also available through certain providers.
“In cases where a woman feels uncomfortable doing injections, sometimes she may ask a friend or family member, or there is an option to hire a visiting nurse,” Becht said.
After the initial visit and workup, the entire process is typically less than two weeks
“If a woman decides to move forward with an egg freeze cycle, it is typically eight to 12 nights of injection medications and coming to the office every few days for ultrasounds and bloodwork,” Becht explained.
During this time, you may experience side effects such as minor headaches, nausea, cramping and bloating. You will then take a special injection to make the eggs ready for extraction and, two mornings later, will have the procedure called the egg retrieval.
Becht said the egg retrieval takes roughly 10 minutes and involves extracting eggs from the ovaries transvaginally and then freezing them. The whole process is done under sedation, so you would be sleeping and pain-free during the procedure, she added.
“When she wakes up, she may feel moderate cramping pain but typically she should feel well enough to leave after recovering for about an hour and be back at work the next day,” Brecht said.
You should also refrain from intercourse and extensive exercise for a few days while recovering from the procedure, according to Becht.
Once it’s all over, you can store your eggs for about a decade
According to the fertility experts at the Southern California Reproductive Center, eggs can be safely stored for up to 10 years before there is any significant loss of quality.
“Have your egg freezing cycle at a clinic with a history of successful implantation,” Karipcin said. “Remember frozen eggs still need to be fertilized to make embryos to be transferred.” She recommended finding a clinic that is successful in both freezing the eggs and creating embryos for fertilization.