Common misconceptions about egg freezing

Our founder’s recent interview on the Podcast “Technophobia” got us thinking about common misconceptions about egg freezing that we hear in our Ovally consults:

1. I’ll wait until my mid/late 30s to freeze my eggs:

This is likely the most common – and understandable – attitude toward egg freezing we hear here at Ovally. Given it’s an elective medical procedure that is often very expensive (more on that below!), it makes sense that many women opt to put it off. However, there are some important factors to consider: The number and quality of your eggs tend to decrease with age, as well as your responsiveness to fertility treatment. This means that the later you decide to freeze your eggs, the more cycles you’ll likely have to do to get enough eggs of good quality that provide you with a relatively reliable chance at a baby. For instance, you’re more likely to need 2 treatment cycles in your mid-30s and even 3 cycles in your late 30s, thereby often doubling or tripling your costs, not to mention the physical, logistical, and emotional toll. In contrast, in your 20s or early 30s, you’re much more likely to need just one treatment cycle to save enough eggs to give you a good chance at having a baby later on.

2. I’ll have my first kid at age X, when my fertility should still be fine: 

Many people only consider the age at which they might start trying for their first kid. However, you always want to think about when you might have your *last* kid when considering creating a potential backup plan. Just because you might be able to get pregnant once does not mean you’ll be able to again when you’re older. Here‘s a bit more detail on this topic in previous post.

3. Egg freezing takes away eggs / affects future fertility:

The short answer is that egg freezing only uses eggs that would’ve otherwise been discarded, like thousands of other eggs that disintegrate during a typical menstrual cycle. Egg freezing therefore doesn’t take away any eggs that you could’ve otherwise used to conceive naturally later on. We also have a separate post with a bit more detail on this topic.

4. It’s prohibitively expensive:

An average cycle of egg freezing costs $13-16k in the US, according to FertilityIQ, including treatment and medications. Some readers have even shown us invoices of $20k. However, it doesn’t have to be: We work with clinics in Spain that match top US clinics in quality of care and outcomes. Egg freezing treatment and medications at our partner clinics costs only $3.5-$4.4k. Prices in Spain are lower as drug and treatment pricing are more regulated by the government, labor is less expensive, and competition between clinics is fierce.

5. It’s a guarantee for a future baby: 

Unfortunately, freezing your eggs is not a perfect guarantee for a future baby – statistically, each egg only has a 5-10% of becoming a baby, and the likelihood decreases with age. Your age and the number of collected eggs are your best predictors for future success, since egg quality cannot (yet) be tested. As more and more people freeze their eggs and the science improves constantly, this predictability will get better and better as well. This post goes into more detail on this topic.

6. It’s invasive and dangerous:

While egg freezing is a medical procedure that shouldn’t be taken lightly, the risks are very low, especially if your doctor knows how to mitigate them: For instance, <2% of women suffer from complications of hyperstimulation, which are associated with very elevated hormone levels. Constant monitoring, tests, and checkup appointments decrease this risk. We’ve written more about potential risks of egg freezing here.

As always, consult your doctor on medical questions, and to see if egg freezing is right for you.

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