How to pay for freezing eggs

Ronita Choudhuri-Wade

As Geri Diaz approached her 34th birthday, she knew she wanted to take a few more steps in her career before becoming a mother. She had been considering egg freezing for over a year.

“I wasn’t in a relationship, so I wanted to take the pressure of having kids off my plate,” says Diaz, a senior education consultant in New York. At the suggestion of friends who had their eggs frozen, she decided to research fertility preservation clinics.

In 2022, Diaz found a clinic with a high success rate for healthy births from frozen oocytes. The clinic also provided funding for the egg freezing procedure, a key consideration for Diaz that helped her decide to move on.

Diaz is among a growing number of millennials who are choosing to freeze their eggs. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, nearly 16,000 egg freezing cycles were performed in 2019 — an increase of nearly 90% since 2016 — and experts predict that number will continue to rise. However, egg freezing is costly and the process can be daunting.

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Here’s what you should know about egg freezing, what it costs, and how to pay for it.

Demystifying the process of freezing eggs

Egg cryopreservation, or egg freezing, is a method of preserving fertility at a time when the eggs may be at their healthiest. It can help those who wish to delay pregnancy for personal reasons, as well as those undergoing medical treatment that may reduce future fertility.

The process involves drugs that stimulate the ovaries to develop eggs over a 10- to 14-day cycle. This stage may require multiple visits to the clinic to ensure that egg follicle growth is on track.

As soon as the oocytes have developed, healthy oocytes are removed from the ovaries and immediately snap-frozen and stored. According to the Texas Fertility Center, most women freeze their eggs for five to 10 years.

Egg freezing does not guarantee that all of the eggs are healthy enough to develop into an embryo. Patients may have to go through the process more than once, and success rates decrease with age. A higher number of eggs retrieved can increase the chances of a healthy live birth.

Alexa Silva, a 34-year-old rental administration manager in Dallas, recently started her egg freezing journey. “If I never get married, I don’t want that to stop me from having children because I want to be a mother, so I’m investing in my future now. That is exciting.”

How much does it cost to freeze eggs?

The total cost for a single egg freezing cycle varies depending on the fertility clinic and the needs of the patient, but generally ranges from $15,000 to $20,000. This includes egg retrieval, pre- and post-procedure consultations, medication and storage for five years. Any costs for the thawing and fertilization of the egg cells are charged separately.

Many fertility clinics offer financing plans to help pay for egg retrieval. Plans don’t always cover the initial consultation, annual storage fees, and medication.

Medications are often the second largest expense after the cost of the procedure, ranging from $2,000 to $6,000. This includes fertility medication and antibiotics after egg retrieval. Diaz says she paid around $4,400 for medication over the course of a month — expenses that weren’t included in her financing plan.

Aside from the financial cost, many patients face physical stress.

“I didn’t know what it would do to me,” says Diaz. “It’s almost like I was just out of action for the whole month of September. You will basically be homebound.”

Diaz is now on the other side of the egg retrieval process and feels relieved.

“There’s this tremendous pressure to perform in your thirties and I no longer feel the pressure to put my career on the sidelines. I think mentally and physically and even professionally I’m feeling much, much better right now.”

Funding options for egg freezing

Here are common options to consider for funding an egg freezing procedure.

insurance coverage

According to Mercer Health, an international health and benefits consultancy, employers are increasingly offering health plans that cover fertility treatments — including egg freezing. Silva’s employer recently added coverage for egg freezing without the need for a specific diagnosis. This contributed to Silva’s decision to move forward with the proceedings that year.

clinic financing

Many fertility clinics work with financing companies that offer clients payment plans. These plans typically have fixed monthly payments paid over one to five years, sometimes with no interest. Future Family, a fertility finance provider that works with fertility clinics, offers loans for egg freezing procedures.

“I think it’s important to go through all the funding stuff to make sure you’re being billed for the right things and that you understand the terms of the agreement,” says Diaz.

Personal Loans

Some clinics work directly with personal lenders who can fund the procedure. NYU Langone Fertility Center and San Francisco-based Pacific Fertility Center both partner with online lender LendingClub to provide fertility loans to patients.

Personal Loans are usually unsecured, with interest rates ranging from 6% to 36%, depending on the borrower’s credit rating and income. They are also available from some banks and credit unions in addition to online lenders. Repayment is monthly, usually over two to seven years. Online personal lenders like SoFi, Discover, and Prosper offer personal loans that can be used for fertility treatments.

savings

Individual savings can be an interest-free way to pay for the cost of freezing eggs. Silva used the money she had saved for years to cover her deductible and non-insurance costs, such as medication. If she could turn back time, she would have started saving sooner, she says.

“I think it’s better to deal with it sooner rather than later and at least start making a plan or thinking about it,” she says. “That would be my advice to younger women in the professional world.”

Think of the cost as an investment

Freezing eggs is not a guarantee. Success rates vary from clinic to clinic and not all eggs result in pregnancy. The high cost can also be an obstacle for many people.

Both Diaz and Silva view egg freezing as an investment in their present and family goals across the board. Silva emphasized the mental and emotional relief she felt after having her eggs frozen.

“I’m in a relationship and it’s going well, but I don’t want to have this deadline pressure. It’s just a good peace of mind and also takes the pressure off of relationships to allow them to evolve as they evolve.”

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