An investment for the future: How to pay for freezing eggs | Economic news

As Geri Diaz neared her 34th birthday, she knew she wanted to take a few more steps in her career before becoming a mom. She had been thinking about freezing eggs for over a year.

“I wasn’t in a relationship, so I wanted to get rid of the pressure of having kids,” says Diaz, a senior education consultant in New York. Prompted by 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 eggs. The clinic also funded the egg freezing procedure, an important consideration for Diaz that helped her decide to move forward.

Diaz is one of a growing number of millennials 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. But freezing eggs is expensive, and the process can be daunting.

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

Demystifying the Egg Freezing Process

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

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

Once the eggs have developed, the healthy eggs are removed from the ovaries and immediately frozen and stored. According to the Texas Fertility Center, most women freeze their eggs for five to ten years.

Freezing eggs does not guarantee that all eggs will be healthy enough to develop into an embryo. Patients may need to go through the process more than once, and success rates decrease as they get older. A greater number of eggs retrieved can increase the chances of a successful healthy live birth.

Alexa Silva, a 34-year-old lease administration manager in Dallas, recently began 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 right now. That’s exciting.”

How much does egg freezing cost?

The total cost for a single cycle of egg freezing varies by fertility clinic and patient needs, but generally ranges from $15,000 to $20,000. This includes egg retrieval, pre- and post-procedure consultations, medications, and storage for five years. The possible costs of thawing and fertilizing the eggs are separate.

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

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

Besides the financial cost, many patients experience a physical toll.

“I didn’t know what it would cost me,” Diaz says. “It’s almost as if for the whole month of September, I was just out of commission. You’re basically going to be housebound.

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

“There’s this huge pressure to perform in my thirties, and I don’t feel the pressure to put my career on hold anymore. I think mentally and physically and even career-wise, I feel much, much better right now. .”

Financing options for egg freezing

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

Insurance cover

According to Mercer Health, an international health and benefits consulting firm, 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 go ahead with the procedure this year.

Funding of the clinic

Many fertility clinics partner with finance companies that offer payment plans to clients. These plans typically have fixed monthly payments paid over one to five years, sometimes without interest. Future Family, a fertility finance provider that works with fertility clinics, offers loans for egg freezing procedures.

“I think it’s important to review all financing issues to make sure you’re being charged for the right things and understand the terms of the agreement,” Diaz says.

Personal loans

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

Personal loans are generally unsecured, with rates from 6% to 36%, depending on the borrower’s credit and income. They are available at some banks and credit unions, in addition to online lenders. Repayments are 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 egg freezing costs. Silva used money she had saved for years for her deductible and non-insurance costs, such as medication. If she could have gone back in time, she says she would have started saving earlier.

“I think you should look into it sooner rather than later and at least start making a plan or thinking about it,” she says. “That would be my advice to young women in the professional world.”

Approach costs as an investment

Freezing eggs is no guarantee. Success rates vary from clinic to clinic and not all eggs lead to pregnancy. The high cost can also be a barrier for many people.

Diaz and Silva view egg freezing as an investment in their present, as well as their family goals. Silva highlighted the mental and emotional relief she felt after freezing her eggs.

“I’m in a relationship and it’s going well, but I don’t want to have this pressure of deadlines. It’s just good peace of mind and it also takes the pressure off relationships so they can grow as they grow.

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