Okay, you’ve scheduled your consultation. How exciting—that’s a great first step! But maybe you’re the overachiever type, and you want to know what else you can do right now to make your egg freezing process faster and easier. Awesome, we love the overachiever types around here.
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Here are three things you can do, even before your first consultation, to get a head start on the egg freezing process.
1. Complete your basic screening tests. First of all, we want to make sure that you’re in completely good health before you start any kind of medical treatment—that’s just healthcare 101. These screening tests help us ensure that. But also, because the egg freezing process requires our lab to handle your human tissues (your eggs), there are regulations in place that require you to get some tests, like HIV and hepatitis screenings, done before that happens. For both of those reasons, we have a checklist of testing that’ll need to be completed before you can start an egg freezing cycle:
- Blood type and screen.
- Complete blood count (CBC). This blood test is often done by your primary care physician at an annual exam.
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This blood test may have been done by your primary care physician or your gynecologist.
- A complete sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening, including the following (all are blood tests except where noted):
- Hepatitis B Surface Antigen
- Hepatitis C Antibody
- HIV I and II
- Gonorrhea and chlamydia (either a urine test or a cervical swab)
- Syphilis (RPR or VDRL)
- A Pap smear. This is usually completed every 1–3 years at your gynecologist’s office.
- A mammogram report, only if you’re 40 or older.
- Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH). This blood test is generally only done in the context of a fertility-focused visit, so you may not have had it done previously. That’s okay—we can do it at your consultation.
Here’s the good news: if you’ve already had any of these tests done in the last year or so, you may not need to repeat them as part of the egg freezing process. Hooray! That means fewer blood draws and swabs, which is always a good thing. All you need to do is bring copies of your test results from your OB/GYN or primary care provider to your consultation.
(If you haven’t had these tests done in a while—and you don’t have time to see your OB/GYN or primary care doctor before your consultation—don’t stress! We can always perform these tests in our office or write you an order to get them done at a lab after the first appointment.)
2. Do your insurance homework. Unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t cover the egg freezing process (yet!). However, you won’t know what they do cover unless you ask. We recommend calling up your insurance company and checking if your plan covers the basic screening tests above. Also, since different insurance companies work with different labs, find out which lab (LabCorp, Quest, Shiel, etc.) is your insurance plan’s preferred provider. Sending you and/or your blood work to the right lab will save you money—and a big headache—down the road.
3. Think about your family planning goals. You’re pretty sure you’re not ready to have a baby now, but have you thought about when you will—and how many children you might like to have, one day? Wanting one child versus wanting a big family of three, four, or more kids can significantly affect the egg freezing target your doctor sets for you. In a similar vein, if you’re pretty sure you want to get pregnant before you’re 35, that might mean a different target plan than if you think you’ll be waiting until you’re over 40.
Please keep in mind that none of these choices are “wrong.” They simply affect your egg freezing target in different ways, so they’re important to the process. Also, you don’t need to have all the answers right now. Just by starting to think about this, you can help promote a more proactive, productive discussion with your doctor.
Have you put your #EggsOnIce? Is there anything you wish you’d done before you met with your doctor? Tweet us at @extendfertility!