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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Egg Freezing: How Much It Costs and How Women Afford It | Money

So you want to freeze your eggs ??

An increasing number of women are choosing to freeze their eggs at high costs. Here's how they afford it and how much they have to spend.

You should do a deep-dive into it before you plunk your money into it, especially if you are borrowing to finance this crap-shoot. You might have better luck on the slots or the tables at your local casino.

Much information is available that supports this statement.

WATCH: The Cost of Trying for a Baby

Women Are Spending Up to $20,000 to Freeze Their Eggs. Is It Worth It?

Assisted reproductive technology isn’t new. In vitro fertilization (IVF)—a procedure that takes eggs from a woman’s ovaries and combines them with sperm in a little petri dish—has been around since 1981, when the first “test tube baby” was born in the U.S. But egg freezing, which stores the eggs for future fertilization, sort of like IVF on retainer, is still a new frontier.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) dropped the “experimental” label from the procedure in 2012—so there’s not a lot of data about how many women are actually doing it. But the evidence is everywhere.
Today, more women like Meg are having frank, open discussions about reproductive health than ever before. They’re sharing their “fertility goals” on public forums like Instagram, Facebook, and family planning websites like The BumpJustMommiesEggsurance. And they’re shelling out thousands of dollars—sometimes tens of thousands of dollars—to bring those goals to fruition.
A single cycle of egg freezing starts at about $5,000 to $8,000. To get a viable number of eggs, some women need to undergo multiple rounds, paying double, or even triple, that price. The hormone prescriptions, injected daily into a patient’s abdomen for at least a week prior to the procedure, can add thousands of dollars to the bill. So can doctor’s visits and storage fees. And that’s just the first part of the process: Most women are on the hook for at least another $10,000 when they thaw and implant the eggs down the line. If you’re lucky, insurance might cover one or two consultations with a fertility doctor, but most patients have to pay for the procedure out of pocket, with the help of credit card debt, medical loans, and clinic-specific payment plans.

Those are hefty price tags for what basically amounts to a gamble. The odds an egg freezing patient will have a successful pregnancy varies, but research from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) shows that each frozen egg only has about a 4.5% to 12% chance of becoming a baby.  The odds a woman will actually use that egg are just as slim. The majority of egg freezing patients never return for the implantation: Studies published in 2017 in the academic journals Fertility and Sterility and Human Reproductionput that number at less than 10%.
All of this adds up to a big, open-ended question bubbling among twenty- and thirty-something women: How much is your fertility worth?
There’s still a lot of uncertainty about who, exactly, is a good candidate for egg freezing. Type “should I freeze my eggs?” into Google, and you’ll get bombarded with page after page of conflicting advice. Biology is mostly to blame here; the speed at which a woman’s eggs deplete depends almost entirely on her own genetic makeup. Fertility testing can give doctors a snapshot of what her odds of conceiving might be, but not a complete picture.

Paying for the procedure is the next big question mark.
Unlike IVF, egg freezing is an expense a woman usually has to navigate on her own, without help from a partner’s income. It comes with a laundry list of fees most patients don’t know about until they’re in the thick of it—like prescription costs ($3,000 and up) and “cryobank” storage fees (about $300 to $1,000 each year).
Still, for women considering taking the plunge, there are more financing options than ever before. Tech companies like Apple and Facebook have started covering the cost as an employee perk. And new, millennial-friendly clinics have popped up with new, millennial-friendly marketing grabs. This past March, the San Francisco–based clinic Spring Fertility sponsored a “Golden Egg Hunt,” which sent about 100 participants on scavenger hunt–style challenges, like belting out Frozen lyrics and hopping like rabbits up a flight of stairs. The grand prize? A free egg freezing cycle and, per Spring’s website, “priceless peace of mind.”
Angella Nguyen, a 38-year-old Los Angeles resident, did a staggering amount of research before freezing her eggs in February. The Bay Area clinic she chose, Zouves Fertility Center, offers financial assistance, as did the pharmaceutical companies that make some of the prescriptions she was required to take beforehand.
Even with these discounts—which required applications and mailed-in tax returns—Nguyen spent about $13,000 out of pocket. If she chooses to thaw and implant the eggs down the line, she’ll have to fork over even more money. But ideally, Nguyen says, she won’t need to.
“I still want to have a natural birth,” she says. “This is plan B to the plan B.”
Some women who can’t afford the hefty price tag borrow money from places like LendingClub, which doles out “fertility loans” with interest rates that swing from 3.99% to 24.99% (the average rate is about 10%, according to a company spokesman). In recent years, fertility clinics have started offering payment plans directly through their facilities, and it’s paid off. Shady Grove Fertility, a national clinic with 31 offices throughout the U.S., saw a 19% spike in women interested in egg freezing after it launched a $195 monthly payment option, a spokeswoman says.
Shady Grove is one of the few companies that charts its pregnancy success rates publicly, on its website. For patients younger than 38, freezing 20 eggs equates to a roughly 80% chance of at least one live birth, according to the clinic. Ten eggs give them a 50/50 chance. This isn’t a magic wand: Like the larger egg freezing population, most of Shady Grove’s patients never return for IVF (of the 875 women the clinic drew that sample from, only 117, or about 13%, came back for implantation). But it does put things into perspective.
“We want people to be educated when they’re doing this,” says Joseph Doyle, a doctor at Shady Grove’s Rockville, Md., office. “It’s a big investment.”


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