One of our most popular and controversial articles this year estimated the cost of raising a child. We are excited for the discussion surrounding another controversial topic: oocyte cryopreservation, freezing eggs for a later pregnancy.
We’ve chosen this topic because multiple readers have written in to ask about it: 54% of American clinics offer it and 1,500 babies have been created via frozen eggs. In a study that examined students’ attitudes toward egg freezing, about half said that they would consider the procedure—especially the ones expecting to have demanding careers. Whether or not this is something that interests you personally (and regardless of how you feel about the issue), we think it’s an interesting topic. As always, we want you to know your options.
Egg Freezing Can Cost Nearly $20,000
Egg freezing is a three-part process:
1. Extraction: This includes hormone injections, mandatory injection class, and surgical extraction of the eggs. The usual price range is $7,000 to $13,000.
2. Storage: Many centers offer the first year of storage free. Thereafter, it costs about $400 per year.
3. Implantation: The thawing and surgical implantation of the eggs is a separate procedure, and is generally not included in the initial price estimate. The usual price for this separate procedure is at least another $4,000 to $5,000.
Total cost for extraction, five years of storage and implantation: $12,600 to $19,600.
Freezing Is Kind of a Big Deal
Women planning to undergo the procedure need to self-administer hormone injections for a few weeks before the out-patient surgery, which can have side effects including overheating, mood swings, and severe bloating. Largely regarded by the medical community as an experimental procedure, doctors only actively recommend it for cancer patients who may lose fertility.
It Costs a Lot of Money, But Is Often Unsuccessful
Although this procedure increases a woman’s chances of having a baby later in life, it can’t guarantee success. At least eight eggs need to be taken for the procedure to be considered successful. Some are expected to die or be damaged during freezing, and the surviving eggs have only a 30% chance of implanting successfully.
The Benefits Might Be Priceless
It’s impossible to say whether or not this procedure is worth its price tag because it’s one of life’s most personal purchases. Women who are pleased with the results often feel liberated from the constant ticking of a biological clock and its resulting pressure on relationships. That said, these newly-liberated women were able to afford the procedure upfront and didn’t acquire debt as a result, which is a wholly different kind of cage.
Is a sometimes-ineffective stop button on your biological clock worth $19,000? Only you can say. Tell us in the comments below!