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As Geri Diaz approached her 34th birthday, she knew she wanted to make a few more moves in her career before becoming a mom. She had been thinking about 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 educational consultant in New York. Prompted by friends that 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 provided financing for the egg-freezing procedure, an important consideration for Diaz that helped her decide to move forward.
Diaz is among a growing number of millennials who are choosing to freeze their eggs. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, close to 16,000 egg-freezing cycles were done in 2019 — an almost 90% increase since 2016 — and experts predict that number will continue to increase. But egg freezing is costly, 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
Oocyte cryopreservation, or egg freezing, is a method to preserve fertility at a time when eggs may be at their healthiest. It can help those who want to delay pregnancy for personal reasons as well as those going through medical treatments that reduce fertility in the future.
The process involves medications that stimulate the ovaries for egg development over a 10- to 14-day cycle. This stage can require multiple clinic visits to ensure the egg follicles' growth is on track.
Once the eggs have developed, healthy eggs are removed from the ovaries and immediately flash 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 the eggs will be healthy enough to develop into an embryo. Patients might need to go through the process more than once, and success rates decrease as they get older. A higher number of eggs retrieved can increase the chances of success for a healthy live birth.
Alexa Silva, a 34-year-old lease 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 right now. That's exciting.”
How much does it cost to freeze eggs?
The total cost of a single egg-freezing cycle varies depending on the fertility clinic and the patient's 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 eventual costs of thawing and fertilizing the eggs are separate.
Many fertility clinics provide financing plans to help pay for the egg retrieval procedure. The plans don’t always cover the initial consultation, annual storage fees and medication.
Medication is often the next-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 — costs that weren't included in her financing plan.
Aside from the financial cost, many patients experience a physical toll.
“I didn't know what it would take out of me,” says Diaz. “It's almost like for the entire month of September, I was just out of commission. You’re basically going to be homebound.”
Diaz is now on the other side of the egg retrieval process and feels relieved.
“There's this huge pressure to perform in your 30s, and I don't feel the pressure to put my career to the side anymore. I think mentally and physically and even career-wise, I just feel much, much better right now."
Financing options for egg freezing
Here are common options to consider for financing an egg-freezing procedure.
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 needing a specific diagnosis. This helped spur Silva’s decision to move forward with the procedure this year.
Many fertility clinics partner with financing companies that offer payment plans to clients. These plans typically have fixed monthly payments paid over one to five years, sometimes with no interest. Future Family, a fertility financing provider that works with fertility clinics, offers loans for egg-freezing procedures.
“I think that it's important to look through all of the financing stuff to make sure that you're getting charged the right things and that you understand the terms of the agreement,” Diaz says.
Some clinics work directly with personal loan lenders that can finance the procedure. The NYU Langone Fertility Center and the Pacific Fertility Center based in San Francisco both partner with online lender LendingClub to provide fertility loans to patients.
Personal loans are typically unsecured, with rates from 6% to 36%, depending on a borrower’s credit and income. They’re available at some banks and credit unions, in addition to online lenders. Repayments are monthly, typically over two to seven years. Online personal loan lenders like SoFi, Discover and Prosper offer personal loans that can be used for fertility treatments.
Individual savings can be an interest-free way to pay for egg-freezing costs. Silva used money she’d been saving for years toward her deductible and the costs not covered by insurance, like medications. If she could go back in time, she says she would have started saving earlier.
“I think that you should look into it earlier rather than later and at least start making a plan or getting some thoughts in your head about it,” she says. “That would be my advice to younger women in the professional world.”
Approach the costs as an investment
Egg freezing isn’t a guarantee. Success rates vary across clinics, and not all eggs lead to pregnancy. The high cost can also be a barrier for many people.
Both Diaz and Silva look at egg freezing as an investment in their present, as well as their family goals down the line. Silva highlighted the mental and emotional relief she felt after freezing her eggs.
“I am in a relationship and that's going well, but I don't want to have that pressure of deadlines. It's just good peace of mind and also takes the pressure off of relationships so that they can evolve how they evolve.”