I’m sure subconsciously you have heard about or seen a video from Adam Ruins Everything. The show is a creative YouTube channel and series of videos by tru TV talking about all kinds of hot topics. Recently on Season 3, Adam is talking about and been covering topics like dating apps, getting pregnant after 35, delves into breastfeeding vs formula, mammograms and explores postpartum depression for women, and now egg freezing or how the egg freezing industry preys on fertility fears. See the video below for what myths Adam is talking about that I hope to clear up.
Here are my three take aways from Adam’s egg freezing video series.
Take Away #1
The first is that it is true that egg freezing was originally created to help cancer patients have reproductive options in the future after they have survived their life threatening illness. However, Adam was a bit dramatic when he claims that egg freezing has turned into a vanity reason for women.
Relationships have been changing, singlehood years are expanding, and couples are waiting longer to start their families. In the world of reproductive science this is a recipe for disaster. Women have biological years that allow them to create off spring, but that window of time is short. As women age our egg quality decreases. Regardless how health conscious, the amount of good food you eat, or how much you hit the gym, the fact of the matter is our biological age is also the reproductive age of our eggs.
Egg freezing allows to extend that clock. The reproductive scientific break through to freeze an egg did not come easy. It was once thought it couldn’t be done because eggs are full of fluid which does not freeze well, since it produces ice crystals and often damages eggs. The advancement from slow freeze to vitrification or fast freeze is what propelled egg freezing into a commercially available option for women. So sorry Adam, but vanity is not the reason women are freezing their eggs. They are freezing to extend the clock and keep up with the reproductive gap we have compared to men.
Take Away #2
The second thought about Adam’s comments about the industry preying on women’s fear of getting pregnant in their life time might be partly true, but only because women are learning about egg freezing too late in their reproductive timeline. When egg freezing experimental ban was lifted by ASRM in October 2012, it allowed fertility clinics to opening offer and market egg freezing. In the early years of the shift, it may have been viewed as politically wrong to talk about this service.
The cost verse the successful outcomes of live births performing the procedure was not perfected back then. However, today clinics have a lot more experience freezing and thawing eggs. Now with corporate companies offering to cover the elective procedure, not only does that help absorb the costs of egg freezing, it has also gained popularity for women to access this technology. With the increased demand, perfected techniques, and using vitrification methods it has given women better outcomes.
When Adam explains that the procedure can cost upwards of $20,000 that price tag is just not current or accurate any more. I think Adam is mixing up IVF costs with Egg Freezing costs. Egg freezing is the first half of an IVF or fertility cycle. It was true that in the past women did pay for the procedure, medications, and storage that resulted in a final cost near that figure, but today with the increasing number of women freezing their eggs, the cost has come down significantly in the last few years. The national average for one egg freezing cycle is between $5,000-7,000 dollars for the fertility clinic/lab fees. Some clinics have multi-packaged deals that bring the costs per cycle down even lower.
Medications, hormones, and drugs to complete a cycle are going to vary from person to person depending depending on your individual age, prescribed dosage levels needed to achieve stimulation, insurance coverage, healthcare benefits, which state you live in or seeking coverages in (some states mandate insurance coverage for fertility treatments), and if you have any employee benefits that might be able to contribute or help to final costs or medications.
There are even boutique freezing-only fertility clinics that offer one flat rate for egg freezing or a guarantee of the amount of eggs that are collected to help give a sense of insurance of outcomes. My biggest advice would be to interview many clinics and be your own advocacy rights. Ask for fertility deals, multi-freezing packages, drug samples, discount hormone cards, or reduced rates in physician fees from the fertility centers. Make sure to approach your employer or HR department to express how this would be a benefit valuable to you. If you don’t ask you will never know and being your own advocate is the most important take away. It is possible so think outside the box because where there is a will there is a way.
Take Away #3
The last point I want to bring up is how Adam points out that most women do not come back and use their eggs. That is not entirely true. A little over 5,000 babies have been born in the world from frozen eggs. There are many reasons women haven’t used their eggs yet. Life events can be unexpected just like reason we froze our eggs in the first place.
Even if you are married or with your parenting partner today, does not mean you can get pregnant. Maybe these women got pregnant the first time naturally. Maybe they will not have to use their frozen eggs until they are working on baby number 2 or baby number 3. This doesn’t mean egg freezing will not work. Just because there are not that many people have gone back and use their eggs yet doesn’t mean this was a wasted medical decision or cost. One must ask themselves what is the piece-of-mind worth to have back-up plan like egg freezing. One has to think about what value it could hold in your life.
I have interviewed and talked to over 50 different women who have chosen to egg freeze throughout the USA, UK, and Australia on my educational website Eggsperience.com and heard a million positive messages or reason why choosing egg freezing was a positive decision for those women. I have even learn about how women had successful pregnancy from frozen eggs to it not working to getting pregnant naturally.
The point is, we don’t know all of life’s curve balls. It is best to live without regret or wishing you would have. By choosing to egg freeze, especially younger years when egg freezing is the most beneficial and cost effective, you will give yourself reproductive options. It could also save you thousands of dollars later if you do need to seek IVF or fertility services when you are older or if you want to extend your family with a second or third baby.
Egg freezing is about giving yourself options. The technology is just going to get better and advance in the future. If you are wondering if you should think about freezing your eggs I encourage you to check out Eggsperience.com or listen to the Eggology Club Podcast to educate yourself and learn about what is involved in egg freezing or if it could be right for you. Egg freezing is a very personal choice, but education is the key. Arm yourself with knowledge because when we know better we do better. Adam may RUIN everything, but doesn’t mean he KNOWS everything. Only you can decide if egg freezing, fertility treatments, using a donor or a surrogate or both to adopting is right for you to start your family. Don’t let others’ opinions or judgements keep you from family building and planning the way that is best for you.