Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation or fertility preservation, is a process where they stimulate the follicles in the ovaries and retrieve unfertilized eggs to preserve them for future use. While egg freezing has taken off in recent years, the cost of the procedure can be a significant barrier for many. Why is egg freezing so expensive and what are your options? Let’s dive in.
So how much does egg freezing really cost?
The question of how much does it cost to freeze your eggs will come down to a few factors. These include the clinic, your geography, and how long you keep the eggs in storage. On average, egg freezing patients will spend $30,000 - $40,000 on treatment and storage.
Let’s look at one case of a 23-year old egg freezer whose insurance did not cover the procedure. Here’s what she paid out of pocket at a New York City clinic:
Fertility workup and blood work - $1,500
Monitoring, blood work, and ultrasound - $2,500
Medications - $4,479
Oocyte retrieval, anesthesia, egg freezing - $15,650
One-year of egg storage- $1,500
Total - $22,629
This specific patient retrieved 34 eggs, which gives her a good chance at a live birth if she uses those eggs down the line. But most people don’t have an extra $20,000 laying around.
But why is egg freezing so expensive?
One major reason for the high cost of egg freezing is the expense of the technology and equipment required for the procedure. The process of freezing eggs involves:
- Anesthesia and the cost of an anesthesiologist at your egg retrieval
- An operating room and equipment for the egg retrieval
- A freezing process called vitrification, which requires specialized equipment and materials
- A cleanroom IVF laboratory with good air quality
- Safe gamete storage with backup generator in case the power goes out
There’s also a high cost for the people who make egg freezing possible. Reproductive endocrinologists – also known as fertility doctors – make between $236,472 and $315,827 a year according to Salary.com. And anesthesiologists make between $359,300 and $470,200. There are also embryologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and patient coordinators. All these specialists go to school for years and have specific training to ensure the process is successful and safe.
Another reason for the high cost of egg freezing is the cost of the medication used during the process. The medication used to stimulate the ovaries in preparation for egg retrieval can be quite expensive, and the cost of these medications varies depending on dosages you are given and your insurance coverage.
According to the GoodRx list price index, the list price for drugs used in egg freezing has increased 50% from 2014 to 2020. There are several medications used to stimulate your eggs during egg freezing: Gonal-F, Menopur, and Follistim AQ. And they are all brand drugs without a generic option… meaning the manufacturer gets to set whatever price they want.
Lastly, egg freezing is so expensive because most health plans don’t cover it. Health insurance companies have a lot of leverage; and if they’re good at one thing, it’s negotiating prices.
How can I get more affordable egg freezing?
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you’re in the right place. Cofertility was founded to reshape the cost structure of egg-freezing, specifically through our Freeze by Co platform.
We have discounts with clinic partners, egg storage facilities, and pharmacies that we pass along to our members. Also, our members get access to our active online community, where you can connect openly with others freezing at the same time.
We stand for choice and offer two accessible programs:
- With our Split program, those who qualify can freeze their eggs for free when you give half of the eggs retrieved to a family who can’t otherwise conceive, including couples with infertility, gay dads, and more.
- Those in our Keep program can freeze their eggs and store them all for their own later use, while taking advantage of discounts throughout the process to lighten the financial load.
Summing it up
If you want children someday, egg freezing may help keep that option on the table. But egg freezing can be an expensive process. That’s because of the cost of the technology, equipment, and people required, as well as the cost of medication. Cofertility can help make your egg freezing journey more affordable – or even free. Take this 1-minute quiz to see which programs you qualify for!