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When I moved to New York, I went for an egg freezing info session at a different clinic in Manhattan. By the end of it, I thought, “This is not for me. This is out of my reach.” You had to come to the office with $16,000—there was no insurance, there was no payment plan. I’m a social worker. I’m still paying student loans. That was not a possibility for me; it felt like something for celebrities and rich people, and I’m not that.
And then I got an email from Extend Fertility. The option to finance the egg freezing process made it doable. There was nothing to think about. I was ready to go for it. My medication was paid through my insurance, and I was able to do two cycles for $5,000.
The accessibility issue is huge, particularly for women of color. Extend Fertility is opening the window for women who normally don’t have access to this. And not just making it accessible financially, but with the people that they hire—they’re taking it a step further and having a diverse staff. When I had my procedure, my mom was picking me up. I asked the young lady at the front desk to speak to my mother in Spanish, because she functions better in that language, and I knew she was going to be nervous. I can’t even put into words how powerful it is to have someone who looks like you in the room where you are being so vulnerable. When the space is created in a way that’s inviting, welcoming, and feels safe to you, that makes the experience.
I am a big chicken when it comes to medical stuff. I had never had surgery until this, I had never been under anesthesia. I have never given myself a shot—it was nerve wracking! But there was never a doubt in the relationship I had with the healthcare team. They were available at any time. Every single question that I had was answered right away. I felt like they were always thinking about how to best accommodate the population that they’re serving. The customer service was absolutely phenomenal, and that, right there, alleviates any worry. I had a lot of trust in them.
It was tiring, but I knew that I was doing it for an end goal. It was an investment. I feel that it was empowering—it allowed me to take control of something. I don’t know what’s next in my life, but I know that I’ve done what is possible for me. That’s liberating. It feels good—like yes, okay, I can focus on other stuff. I’m actively dating, I’m looking for a partner. Having this safety gives me a little more breathing room, and I don’t have to worry so much about how fast things progress.
Women shy away from talking about this. I believe that it’s because there’s so much stigma around admitting that there’s a possibility that you may not be able to be a mom. There’s a lot in that—it’s a charged topic. And rather than seeing egg freezing as taking ownership of your options, it’s seen as admitting the problem.
But I’m very excited and optimistic that this is available. It’s a little bit of insurance, it’s something that’s available to you that wasn’t available to many women in the past—and that’s still not available to a lot of women. It’s incredibly powerful.
I have a friend who was in her late 30s who wasn’t necessarily trying to get pregnant, but was allowing it to happen if it would happen. Ultimately, it didn’t happen, and while talking to me about moving on from having her own biological children (she has two stepchildren), she wound up saying: “If I could do it all over again, I’d freeze my eggs.” This started me on the path to considering this as an option. At the time, reproductive technology wasn’t nearly as good as it is today, so I didn’t even really seriously consider this until the past year.
I’m not quite sure I want my own biological kids, but as my age increased, I realized that I was going to have to make some decisions soon. So I started doing some research, and that’s when I came across Extend Fertility. I really connected to the idea of focusing on expanding the options for women and that the founder created the idea in order to empower women and their fertility. I also did some research in Austin, where I live, to see what my options were, but it was going to be significantly more expensive here.
For me, the biggest selling point of Extend Fertility—besides the fact that it was designed for women who want to preserve their fertility—was the fact that they guaranteed a minimum number of eggs. At other fertility clinics, it felt like they had this attitude of, “If you don’t get enough, tough luck. It’s out of your pocket.” Most women are not about to throw $10,000 or $12,000 at an egg freezing cycle and not think twice about it. Extend Fertility’s approach was much better.
From the moment that I called Extend Fertility, it just felt like that was where I belonged. Because of how attentive they were, how they treated me, how they were very accommodating to the fact that I had a weird schedule because I didn’t live there—it was just the right place for me. I expected a high level of care, and I got it. I always felt like the care at Extend Fertility was the best quality that I could have gotten.
The needles, at first, were my biggest anxiety. I had never injected myself before and I don’t like needles, but it wasn’t that bad, looking back on it. (And now, I’m not as afraid of needles—it’s like I overcame something in the process.) During the cycle, there were minimal side effects. I was a little tired and I got a few headaches, but nothing that over-the-counter medication couldn’t fix. Actually, the process was extremely easy until two days after the retrieval, and then I felt pretty crummy. But I called Alla, and she talked me through it.
After one cycle, I got 20 eggs. I felt very happy with the results; I came out of it feeling very triumphant, like my body was capable of things I didn’t even know it could do—create 35 follicles, 20 of them which were mature enough to freeze and save for later.
It’s actually a little surreal—I’ve almost forgotten that I did this. Now they just sit in a lab and wait for me! But it has affected me. The biggest outcome is that I’m no longer in a rush to find a committed partner. I feel like I can just live my life and do my thing, and if the right partner comes along then the right partner comes along. I feel a tremendous amount of relationship relaxation, and that definitely increases the potential that I will find a healthy relationship, because I don’t feel like I have to make somebody fit that doesn’t.
For some odd reason, too, I feel like it makes me a more desirable partner. I’m a very driven and motivated woman—so motivated and driven that I have the forethought to freeze eggs in preparation for a family. I joke about it now: I own my own business, I’m in the process of buying a house, I’m a sex therapist, and I have my eggs frozen—who wouldn’t want to date me?
Our culture talks a lot about readiness for parenting and readiness for children, and egg freezing allows us to be more ready. I think we’ll start to see people being more deliberate and becoming better parents and partners. You don’t have to find someone to marry and have kids with quickly; you could actually postpone all of it until you’re really ready and sure. I think parenting will improve and relationships will improve, and a greater benefit of the whole thing is just a better quality of life.
And this is part of the bigger story for me: I did the extra screenings to be a donor so that if I don’t use the eggs or something happens to me, they will go to my two best friends, who are gay. It wasn’t just about me freezing my eggs, it was also about me making some level of commitment to the family planning of my dear friends. I wasn’t just doing this for me—I was doing it for them, too. I felt like I was doing something that was bigger than just me.
I’m a sex therapist and I host a podcast, and I have a pretty wide range of people who connect with me over reproductive and sexual issues. Now that I’ve done it, there are tons of people in my community that are asking me about it. I definitely recommend it. It’s just money—you’ll make more, and you’ll have more, but our fertility is something that does decline. I would encourage women who are up for the challenge and who would like the option to have their own biological kids to freeze their eggs.
A friend of mine went through the process of freezing her eggs a year ago, and told me it was so much easier than she expected. I was very much aware of the reality of how fertility declines with age and that I wasn’t getting any younger. But it was my friend’s positive experience that prompted me to think seriously about going through the process myself. I started doing research on providers in the New York area and came across Extend Fertility.
I liked that [Extend Fertility] was focused specifically on women looking to freeze their eggs and being the premier service in this field. Once I had my consultation, it was a very quick decision for me. I felt really comfortable with everybody that I met and had gained a good understanding of what the process entailed. It was an easy decision!
Everybody at Extend Fertility was incredibly helpful, friendly, supportive—in a way that just made the whole process easier and... even a fairly enjoyable experience! I was surprised about that. From the friendly demeanor of everybody that I interacted with, to the care that they put into anticipating any questions or concerns that I might have, to the team’s dedication and availability, to their personal interest in making sure that my experience was good—it all made a big difference. Dayna [Director of Clinical Operations] took so much time to make sure that I was educated on every step along the way.
This was especially evident with the medication, which is obviously expensive and unfortunately my insurance didn’t cover any of it. The team put in so much effort to figure out what was the most economical approach; they said, “we know this is expensive, and we’re trying to find the best option for you.” I thought that was really great because usually working through health- and health insurance-related matters can feel like a maze. This was the complete opposite experience.
I ended up freezing 21 eggs. I’m certainly aware that nothing is guaranteed—but it’s good to have this potential option. It eases a little bit of the pressure that you may put on yourself. The process is short. There was some discomfort, of course—nothing that’s debilitating, but it does impact you for that three-week period. But it’s totally worth it, and I’m very happy that I did it. I’ve definitely recommended egg freezing to friends of mine, and I’ve recommended Extend Fertility specifically.
One of the reasons I tell my friends about my egg freezing experience is because I don’t think everybody is aware of the option. At the end of the day, it’s not that difficult of a process—it’s easier than you might think—and it’s a smart decision. If this had been so available ten years ago, I would have done it ten years ago. Anybody who’s thinking about freezing their eggs now—I really do encourage them to go ahead and not wait.
*Name changed upon request.
I heard about Extend Fertility through a book called Motherhood, Rescheduled. I was curious about egg freezing, which is why I got the book—it sounded like something I wanted to know more about. I had a friend who started to try to get pregnant at 40 and went through many cycles of IVF. Her eggs weren’t healthy, and she ended up using donor eggs and donor sperm. I went through it with her for years. I’m not sure I’ll go down that path, but I know if I do, I don’t want it to be that hard.
I didn’t know what to expect at my first appointment—I went in just wanting to get more information. I was prepared for the process to seem really complicated. But there was a team who made it clear that their job was to make it as easy as possible. I felt very taken care of. They were very clear day-to-day, telling me “this is what is next, this is what we’re going to do, this is what we’re looking for.”
For me, there was a bit of an emotional hump to get over—the fact that I was thinking about this, and not about the idea of having a baby now with a person that I care about. But I thought, if I’m going to have this emotional back-and-forth, if I’m going to waver for the next few years, I’d rather just do it now and save myself those years. It was worth the peace of mind.
It’s kind of amazing that this technology exists. By coincidence, I met someone a few weeks after my procedure who also froze her eggs. She did it at 40, and spent a lot more than I did. But she just had a baby at 44. That made me feel like there are so many stories with so many possible endings and beginnings.
I want to be thoughtful in how I live my life. As you get older, you’re more aware of your choices. I could choose to do this, or I could choose to say, ‘well, I’m just going to have a baby right now while I’m still fertile.’ But that felt more emotional than thought-out.
I feel good about my choice—I feel like it was smart. It definitely made me feel more in control, like there was something that I could do. In the big picture, I won’t regret it.