Alessia froze her eggs with our team back in 2016. She had a great result, and ended up with 27 eggs on ice. Three years later, after some disappointing experiences with another fertility center, she came back to our team to use her frozen eggs in IVF. Happily, she was able to conceive from the first embryo transfer.
Alessia’s daughter was born in May of 2020, one of the first babies born from an egg frozen in our lab. Here, we talk to her about her fertility journey, here and elsewhere, from family planning to new motherhood.
What prompted you to consider freezing your eggs?
I did it when I was 35. At that time, I was not in a relationship. There was nothing that suggested I would have a child any time soon, so I just went ahead and did it. It was really prompted by my age.
In retrospect, I wish I had done it sooner, as I probably would have had better quality [eggs]. But, at that point, 35 was my personal “cut-off” time.
How did you find us?
Through advertising on Instagram! I was researching a lot [about egg freezing] when the ad came about. I did consider Cornell or NYU, but to be honest, I didn’t do it there for cost-related reasons. Around $20,000, which was the price that they were asking, was a little steep, and I didn’t feel like there were going to be a lot of differences in the treatment—that seemed like an excessive amount.
When I saw the pricing at Extend Fertility was much more reasonable, I decided to go for the free consultation. That’s where I really got confirmation that this was the right place for me.
What was your first impression?
I had a consultation with Dr. Klein. He took more than an hour to explain things properly, with statistics, and numbers—I like that approach a lot because I think it empowers you. You really understand what you’re going through. I was very impressed by the fact that he was not rushed whatsoever. I realized later on that that’s really unusual; generally, you get a consultation that’s no more than 5–7 minutes. Dr. Klein really took the time to explain things and do “my” math.
The environment was very welcoming, and very organized, which is pretty much what you need. The process is very straightforward. You just need a very good organized structure with people who are very on top of follow-up. It was good not to have the worry of, “Did they send the prescription?” “Will they answer the phone?” It took away a lot of stress, and that was very valuable to me.
What was the egg freezing process like for you?
My body reacted quite strongly to the medication. In retrospect, it was not that bad, but you feel uncomfortable. It’s an unusual thing to take so many hormones. I’m glad I did it; I wouldn’t change anything, but it was a little harder than I expected.
But I realize from speaking to other patients that everyone reacts very differently. I [froze] a lot of eggs, so my ovaries were very full. Probably, I was feeling it more than other patients. I have friends who did it and felt absolutely nothing.
I was able to freeze 27 eggs, in one cycle.
How long was it between freezing your eggs and deciding to come back and use them?
About three years.
Funny enough, I met my husband a week before starting [my cycle]. We were just dating, and I didn’t really know if I should tell him or not. Some men react weirdly!
But I decided to tell him, and he was very supportive. He came to the clinic with me. We actually bonded a lot over the experience. He was the one who took me [home] from the clinic the day of the egg retrieval procedure, and he stayed with me after. This was like, two weeks into the relationship. It was the first sign that he was really the right person for me.
What did your fertility journey look like before you returned to EF?
Almost two years after we met, my husband and I decided to try for a child. It didn’t work out for several months. I decided to go to [a large hospital-based fertility center]. The first meeting actually went quite well, and we started with three IUIs that [were not successful].
I decided not to go ahead with them, because of two main issues. The first issue was that it was a nightmare to get in touch with anyone. I couldn’t get on the phone with the doctor, I couldn’t really get the information I needed. I had the feeling that I was left to guess. You feel like there is very little personal contact, which is not uncommon for a big hospital—but it was more stress than anything else.
But the reason that I certainly decided I was not going to go ahead with them was more on the medical side. In one of the tests, they found out I had blocked tubes. For me, IVF [seemed like] the right way to go, because it bypasses the tubes.
When I approached the doctor, he suggested that I actually have an operation instead, a laparoscopy, to check what was wrong with the tube. Even if they opened the tube, we don’t know if it would have worked out, because of my age—I was 38 at that time. Also, after the procedure, you have to wait at least 3–6 months for the tissue to heal before trying anything.
From the testing they did, it didn’t show that I had a blockage that would have potentially [lowered] the chance of success with IVF. When I requested a consultation to really understand why I needed to go through an additional operation, the doctor was very dismissive. I felt they were pushing for unnecessary surgery without really thinking things through.
So I asked for a consultation with Dr. Klein. Again, I had the same feeling that this was where I was supposed to be. The prices were extremely reasonable, and I trusted the doctor a lot. It was a very quick decision at that point.
Did you thaw all the eggs you’d frozen?
Yes. We inseminated the eggs to create embryos, and then we did all the testing—the PGS tests. Out of the process, we were left with 5 [genetically normal] embryos, and one was implanted.
And it worked!
And it worked.
What was your experience like with our team the second time around?
Exactly what I found with the egg freezing procedure, I found with the IVF procedure. Everything is extremely straightforward and professional. The nurses were fantastic and super supportive. In the first three months [of my pregnancy], I had a scare where I thought I had a miscarriage. They took me into the clinic immediately to do a scan.
The night before the [embryo transfer], the doctor actually called me. It was very important to hear his voice. It doesn’t matter, in the end, for the outcome, but it does—it makes you feel like someone is actually there for you, and is making sure that everything goes well. This type of personal approach, personal touch, is invaluable really. ◆
Alessia has generously offered to speak with any patients or potential patients that want to know more about her experience here at Extend Fertility. If you’d like to be connected, ask your fertility advisor!