“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” – Woody Allen
When I was younger, I always thought by this age I’d be married and have kids. While that hasn’t happened, I have lived in multiple cities in different states and countries, traveled around the world, had incredible experiences, met amazing people and have built a strong career. And I am happy with my decisions and treasure my experiences and memories.
I do not believe it’s an “either or” of focus on yourself and your experiences or have kids, but rather an earlier in life or later in life. The reality is though, women have a limited amount of time to have children.
I’ve thought about freezing my eggs for a few years and finally decided to move forward with the process. Knowing that I am only getting older and the choice may not be mine to make in the future, I wanted to ensure I had eggs I could use. While I know it is not a guarantee, it is an insurance plan I wanted to have.
I referenced a lot of other women’s stories and experiences during my research and wanted to document my experience to hopefully help other women who are thinking about freezing their eggs. I believe every woman should have a right to freeze her eggs, if it is something she chooses to do.
This is my egg freezing journey.
Some additional thoughts/learnings that I want to share for women who are considering going through the egg freezing process:
- Give yourself time to get things organized. If your insurance covers the procedure, give yourself even more time. You will need to double check codes, obtain pre-approval letters, work with prescription insurance on injections, etc. These things take time and a large chunk of it is you waiting on their response.
- Don’t forget about injections. If your insurance doesn’t cover them, they can be very pricey (thousands of dollars). Make sure to check out programs like Compassionate Care that can help pay for the injections.
- Exercise is a no-go from when you start your injections to your first period after the procedure. Your ovaries will be enlarged, so no twisting or compacting your body. This was hard for me, but I understood the importance. Walking is fine.
- Drinking wine or beer (or whatever your go-to drink is), is okay, but obviously, limit your intake. I’m not going directly to in-vitro, so this is likely different for the women who are.
- Be kind to your body. Always, but especially during this process while it’s working major overtime.
- Pick a doctor, but know that your body dictates when your appointments will be, so you will likely end up seeing most of the doctors at the practice. Similar to when you’re pregnant.
- The injections aren’t that bad. I promise. I hate needles and had major anxiety about giving myself shots. I was shaking I was so nervous. In the end, I gave myself 15 shots and while some burned a little bit, they truly were completely doable.
- Don’t plan on wearing your skinny jeans while you’re doing your injections. You will likely feel/be bloated. Embrace the leggings life!
- Build in extra time for the Cetrotide shots. Gonal F is easy, you only have to turn the dial to your dose. Cetrotide, you have to mix and swap out needles. This takes a few extra minutes.
- Be ready to answer questions you hadn’t thought of — like, what happens to your unused eggs if/when you die?
- Take time after the retrieval procedure. I was very sleepy the afternoon after my procedure and sore the next day. Give your body time to rest.
- POST EGG RETRIEVAL: I was surprised at how crappy I felt the week or so following. I was so focused on the procedure and the injections leading up to it, I hadn’t put any thought into after. The hormones adjusting in my body lead to me feeling pretty puny, with waves of nausea for about 7 days after the procedure.
- FIRST PERIOD AFTER: I started my period 12 days after the procedure. That first day of my period was pretty rough. Not too much heavier of a cycle, but did not feel well at all on the first day. By day 2 of my period, I felt back on my “normal” cycle.
Most importantly, this was my experience and the direction I received from my wonderful doctors at the Institute for Reproductive Health in Cincinnati. Each woman will have a personalized plan and guidelines, so make sure to ask your doctor all of your questions to ensure you have the right direction.
If you choose to move forward, good luck and I wish for many mature eggs for you to freeze. You will not regret your decision.