If you think you might want to be a mom one day, you may have already thought about freezing your eggs. In fact, in 2018 alone, you’ve probably seen what seems like an uptick in coverage around the subject: In August, the New York Times published a deep-dive into companies and clinics which offer egg-freezing (some of which specifically target millennials). Refinery29 documented what really happens at an egg-freezing party, a growing trend in both the U.S. and U.K. Business Insider recently toured an egg-freezing clinic in New York that billed itself as the “Equinox of egg freezing.”
In other words, egg-freezing, which — like many fertility treatments — used to be considered somewhat more taboo to talk about, has officially become mainstream. But one thing that seems to be missing from the conversation? What it’s really like to embark on the egg-freezing journey, from women who have been there.
We spoke to five women who’ve taken the plunge about the one thing they wish they had known before before freezing their eggs. Here’s what they said.
“I’ve been working in the fertility industry for about 15 years, but when I froze my eggs four years ago, even with all that background, the biggest shock for me was the emotional component…I wasn’t prepared for the emotional roller coaster you kind of go on when you take the fertility drugs and tests…because that’s what you’re doing. Until you’re trying to get pregnant, you don’t know if you can conceive, right? So this is like the pre-cursor to motherhood. I thought I was so prepared. You know? I thought, Oh I’ve got this in the bag. And when I was on the hormones, the one thing that was totally surprising to me was that I was just kind of taken aback by the emotional roller coaster I went on.” — Valerie L
“The number one thing I wish I had known was that the process doesn’t end with the [egg] retrieval. The bloating for me post surgery was worse than anything I experienced during the shots portion and was much more painful. I thought that the whole thing would be two weeks and once the retrieval happened, I could go back to normal life, but the bloating post surgery lasted four to five days and left me more immobilized than before. I also didn’t realize I had to wait for my period to come back before I could resume all normal activity. Basically, I had a ton of information about pre-retrieval but very little about post.” — Kara S
“What I wish I had known was how much support I’d receive from my friends and family and even strangers. I’m Asian, which has a typically traditional and conservative culture, and was hesitant to broach the subject with my parents. I was surprised to see how supportive and progressive they were — I think when lauded tech companies such as Google and Apple publicly announced including fertility benefits for their employees, it started to change the narrative and got the conversation going.
But equally surprisingly was [that] my boyfriend’s support made me quite emotional. He even followed my fertility diet in solidarity! [He gave me] pep talks before shots and made sure I was comfortable. [It] meant a lot and brought us closer.” — Angella N
“After my surgery, I was told I would have some abdominal soreness; however, I didn’t realize how much! My core felt like I had done 1,000 sit-ups, but when I looked down I didn’t see an 8-pack! Every little movement I made — sitting up, bending over — was so tender. If I had known, I wouldn’t have scheduled so many things in my work calendar right after the procedure. My advice: Be patient and take the time you need to recover.” — Danni A
“In my case, I initially considered the procedure at the age of 30, but between the struggles of being in surgical training, concerns regarding the technology, in addition to the high cost, I ended up waiting until I was 32. When I finally did undergo the procedure, I was surprised to learn that my insurance had some fertility benefits and thus ended up covering some of my medications. Of course, it’s still quite an expensive procedure, but this was a pleasant surprise. For those who are concerned regarding the cost, I would urge them to explore their insurance benefits and see what is available. While undergoing the process I also learned how the technology has advanced, making egg-freezing a much more viable process than it was previously. This would also have influenced me to undergo the process sooner rather than later. Overall, I have no regrets about my decision to undergo cryopreservation and if I could offer any advice, I only wish I had done it sooner!” — Kriti M