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WTF happens when you freeze your eggs?
Over the last few weeks at dinners, work events and social events with friends, I’ve encountered many women who either 1) just froze their eggs or 2) are about to freeze their eggs. In fact, there has been a 1,000% increase in the number of U.S. women who froze their eggs between 2009 and 2016 (and this number has increased even more since the pandemic). But before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that freezing your eggs is obviously a financially privileged choice. I firmly believe it shouldn’t come at such a steep cost, but it does. We’ve written before about the lengths many have to go—due to the fractured U.S. healthcare system— to afford things like IVF and egg freezing, opting for unfavorable work conditions to get pregnant or preserve their reproductive options.
I’ll start by saying that I would personally like to freeze my eggs next year. But I can’t afford it yet, and I’m still in the phase of obsessively trying to figure out WTF actually happens when you head down this road. You could say it has become somewhat of a hobby.
But then I remembered, this type of information crowdsourcing is literally why we created Diem. So I’m bringing the conversation to you. Please help! I have so many questions and I know some of you will have the answers. I don’t want to read long WebMD articles and scour Reddit threads, I want to hear from real people on their real experiences. I want to hear about the stuff they don’t tell you in the doctors office and the things we were absolutely never taught at school.
How do they get the eggs out when they’re ready? What hormones are you injecting? How much does it cost to store your eggs? What does an egg even look like? How big is it? What’s the best clinic in New York? How long does a retrieval take? What do I need to do first? Does it qualify for insurance? What do you feel like while you’re doing it? How do you test your fertility? Can you freeze an egg and do IVF later? How much does it cost? Which insurance is best?
I’ve written about not feeling maternal before—and it’s not that I don’t want children (I think I do)—I just hate that it’s societally assumed that all women are maternal and craving babies as we’re constantly reminded of our declining fertility every day we age. The purpose of freezing your eggs is to preserve your options, especially if you don’t feel ready. I fall into that camp. Perhaps I’ll never end up using them, but at least I will have had the option to make the choice to become a mother, a right that many women have been stripped of in the United States this year.
To me, in this moment, egg freezing also feels like a quiet, powerful statement against the societal conditioning to let reproduction define our lives. Instead, egg freezing is an insurance plan of sorts—among my circles, it’s often discussed as the thing that lets women ride the momentum of their careers maturing, or delay parenthood without the right partner. In an era of America that is quickly plunging into a lack of choice in the reproductive realm, it feels all the more important to understand what options you do still have.
On that note… I would love to hear your thoughts & experiences with egg freezing. Have you done it? What resources did you find helpful? What do you wish you knew before you started the process? What surprised you about the process? How did you afford it? Please share it all, anonymously, in this week’s Diem Doc on all things egg freezing.
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What We’re Reading…
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From last week’s Diem Doc on What to Watch…
I’ll start by saying my husband asked me to watch this movie with him under the false pretense of “it’s a romantic comedy.” Reader, it is not a rom-com (though the first 20 minutes might make you think otherwise!). This is a super scary horror film, but it has some pretty powerful feminist messages that made me glad I watched it. Have never seen anything quite like it before or since. Trailer here. – 29, San Francisco
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Till next time,