For many women, the decision of when to start a family is a deeply personal and often complex one.
With more women waiting longer to start a family until they find the right partner or have stable finances, the window for conceiving a child naturally becomes smaller. However, as research shows, female fertility begins to decline around age 30, and the rate accelerates even more around age 35.
But now, thanks to advances in reproductive technology, egg freezing has become a popular option for women who want to preserve their fertility and have the opportunity to start a family later in life.
This article explores the topic of egg freezing, specifically, how much does it cost to freeze eggs and what factors to consider when making this important decision.
What is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a process in which a woman’s eggs are frozen and stored for future use. The procedure is an excellent option for women who wish to delay having children or those undergoing medical treatment that could cause infertility or early menopause.
There are two types of egg freezing – elective and medically indicated.
Elective egg freezing is a personal choice where patients freeze their eggs without any medical necessity. On the other hand, medically indicated egg freezing occurs when a person is diagnosed with a medical condition that could potentially harm their fertility, such as cancer or pre-chemotherapy.
In some cases, health insurance plans cover medically indicated egg freezing. However, as of 2022, only 15 states have passed fertility insurance coverage laws, making elective egg freezing an out-of-pocket expense for most people.
What Does the Egg Freezing Process Involve?
Egg freezing is a complex process that involves several steps, each with its associated costs.
Patients interested in preserving their eggs for future use undergo hormonal treatment to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple follicles containing an egg. Once the follicles reach the right size, a fertility specialist retrieves the mature eggs, and only those ready for fertilization are frozen for future use.
The egg retrieval process takes about two weeks, and multiple retrievals may be necessary, depending on the ovarian response to medication. Patients must prepare for several healthcare costs, including injections, medication costs, physician visits, egg retrieval, annual storage fees, and implantation.
Egg freezing statistics indicate that the average patient under 38 can retrieve 10 to 20 eggs per cycle. As a result, multiple cycles, on average 2.1, are often required to produce enough eggs for intended parents, leading to additional fees.
Although egg freezing can be both costly and challenging, it offers individuals the opportunity to pursue childbearing later in life with a sense of security and confidence.
Freezing Eggs vs. Freezing Embryos
IVF with partner/sperm donor
Stimulation to produce multiple eggs;
Mature eggs are collected and frozen
Hormonal treatment to produce multiple eggs;
Eggs are fertilized with sperm, and embryos are frozen
Lower upfront cost;
Annual egg storage costs
Higher upfront cost;
Fewer annual storage costs
90% chance of success (egg thawing)
95% chance of success (embryo thawing)
Sperm can be added later to create an embryo
Can only be used for pregnancy through a partner/sperm donor
Legally not considered a human embryo
Legally considered a human embryo; Regulation on use and disposal
How Much Does It Cost to Freeze Eggs?
The decision to freeze eggs can be daunting, filled with questions about the process and the cost.
How much does it cost to freeze eggs, exactly? Unfortunately, it’s not a cheap process, but the price tag is not uniform.
The total cost is comprised of several factors, including:
- Ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval preparation
- Egg retrieval
- Egg freezing
- Cryopreservation cost
- Fertilization (if freezing embryos)
- Egg culture
Additionally, fertility clinics will charge various fees, such as:
- Consultations and monitoring
- Preliminary fertility testing (to ensure you’re a good candidate for IVF or assisted reproductive technologies)
- Fertility drugs
Fertility drugs needed for egg retrieval and assisted reproductive technologies can range from $3,000 to $6,000. However, insurance providers might cover some of these costs depending on where a patient lives and other factors.
While it may be a complex and expensive undertaking, more clinics are offering egg freezing, and it’s a more mainstream procedure today than ever before.
The Average Cost to Freeze Eggs
What is the average cost to freeze eggs?
The answer isn’t so simple since prices vary based on location, the clinic of choice, and the specific medical needs of women patients.
Egg freezing in the US generally costs between $9,000 and $10,000, not including medications, which can add another $2,000 to $3,000 to the bill. Additionally, the cost of egg storage can run up to $1,000 per year after the first free year, which some clinics may offer.
It’s important to note that the cost can be driven by both the average cost per cycle, which ranges from $15,000 to $20,000, and the number of cycles (average 2.1 cycles) each woman undergoes. As a result, on average, patients can expect to spend between $30,000 to $40,000 on the entire process, including the cost of medical treatment, medication, and storage.
When it comes to freezing eggs, it’s not just about the cost of the procedure itself. On top of that, it’s also essential to consider the long-term financial implications and what happens when a woman uses her frozen eggs.
To complete the egg freezing process, it’s essential to fertilize them, grow embryos in a laboratory, and transfer them to a woman’s uterus. The cost of thawing and fertilizing the eggs, growing the embryos, and transferring them to the uterus can range from $5,000 to $7,000, depending on the clinic, IVF coverage, and patient’s medical needs.
Therefore, to make an informed decision about freezing eggs, it is crucial to conduct thorough research, consult a qualified healthcare provider, and fully understand the financial commitment required.
The Costs of Egg Freezing in the U.S.
Egg freezing is a popular fertility strategy among women who want to preserve their reproductive potential later in life.
However, many are often left wondering: is it expensive to freeze eggs? The cost of egg freezing in the USA can vary greatly depending on where a patient lives.
Data collected by FertilityIQ has shown that a single cycle of egg freezing can range from $15,000 to $20,000, with New York City having the highest average cost of $17,773, almost $2,000 more than the national average of $15,991.
Other cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago can also be expensive, with prices ranging from $14,850 to $16,666. However, women in Boston can expect to pay just $13,800 on average for one egg-freezing cycle, which is almost $4,000 less than the average cost in New York City.
How Long do Frozen Eggs Last?
As more women choose to freeze their eggs as a means of preserving their fertility, many may wonder how long do frozen eggs last.
The good news is that there is no limit to the number of years that eggs can be frozen in the United States, making it a viable long-term option for those looking to retain their fertility. Time is not a factor, as long as proper retrieval, freezing, and storage methods are used.
With advanced egg-freezing methods, eggs can be frozen indefinitely without weakening them, and the success rates for fertilization and conception remain high. In fact, IVF specialists have successfully created embryos from eggs frozen for up to 14 years.
This means that the cost of egg freezing in the USA could be an investment that lasts a lifetime, providing peace of mind to women looking to start a family later.
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Egg Freezing & Age Limit
Egg freezing is a popular option for women who want to postpone motherhood or preserve their fertility for medical reasons. However, the age of the woman seeking the procedure is an essential factor that affects the success of the process.
As women age, the quantity and quality of their eggs decline, making it more challenging to freeze viable eggs. Typically, women lose more than 90% of their eggs by the time they reach about 37 years old.
Fertility experts recommend that elective egg freezing be limited to women aged 38 and under, as older women have a higher risk of miscarriages, chromosomal abnormalities, and other complications.
The optimal age range for egg freezing is between 30 and 34, with the highest probability of achieving pregnancy in women under 34. However, there is no actual age limit for egg freezing, and women of any age can benefit from fertility treatments like IVF or egg freezing if they are not yet ready for motherhood.
It’s important to note that the egg-freezing success rate decreases as women age, with a decline in the survival rate of thawed eggs from 95% in women under 36 to 85% by age 36. Therefore, women must consider their age and consult their healthcare providers about their options before deciding on elective egg freezing.
A Takeaway: Is Egg Freezing Worth It?
As more women prioritize their careers and personal goals, egg freezing has become an increasingly popular option for those who want to extend their reproductive timelines. However, the question remains: is egg freezing worth it?
While there are no guarantees when it comes to fertility, egg freezing offers a unique opportunity for women to take control of their future and have more options available to them regarding family planning. Though the cost may be steep, the potential reward of having viable eggs to use down the line can be priceless.
Women who freeze their eggs may later conceive a child naturally with a partner, using their banked eggs to increase their chances of having a second or third child if they choose to do so. Alternatively, some women may ultimately decide not to use their frozen eggs at all.
Regardless of the outcome, the ability to freeze eggs gives women options and the flexibility to make decisions about their family planning that align with their individual goals and circumstances.
Fertility Preservation for the Future
As employers compete for top talent in a tight job market, they are increasingly offering employee benefits that go beyond traditional health coverage. One area of focus for companies is fertility benefits, including options for fertility preservation, such as egg freezing.
With almost 20% of large US companies now offering coverage for egg freezing, it’s clear that family planning services have become an increasingly popular perk.
This shift is not surprising, given the importance people place on their personal lives and the need for companies to remain competitive in attracting and retaining top talent.
To show their commitment to supporting their employees’ family planning goals, some employers offer as much as a $200,000 limit to cover the cost of family-building, which can include everything from IVF to funded surrogacy.
For employees, these fertility benefits can be life-changing, providing access to vitrification, a cutting-edge process that uses freezing technology to preserve eggs or embryos.
Moreover, employers that offer these benefits can create a culture supportive of diverse family structures, promote employee engagement, and foster an inclusive workplace that values the whole person.
As a result, offering fertility benefits has become a win-win for both employees and employers, making it an essential offering that should be included in all company benefit options.
On a Final Note
In conclusion, how much does it cost to freeze eggs? The answer may depend on several factors, but with the proper support and resources, egg freezing can be a valuable tool for preserving fertility and family planning.
- How fertility became a workplace perk (BBC)
- New Survey Finds Employers Adding Fertility Benefits to Promote DEI (Mercer)
- ‘Sobering’ Study Shows Challenges of Egg Freezing (NY Times)
- Pregnancy outcome at extremely advanced maternal age (Ajog)
- Age of mothers at childbirth and age-specific fertility (OECD)
- Coverage and Use of Fertility Services in the U.S. (KFF)