See if you qualify for free egg freezing.
Scheana Shay in hospital bed.

Our co-founder and CMO sat down with actress, podcast host, and singer Scheana Shay.

ARIELLE: I’ve loved watching you being so open about your egg freezing experience this season on Vanderpump Rules. I myself have undergone two rounds of IVF, so I totally get why you’re thinking ahead.

SCHEANA: Oh, wow. How many eggs did you have? What was your AMH level?

My first IVF round, we got seventeen eggs but, at the end of the day, only got two genetically normal embryos. When I first started fertility treatment years ago, my AMH was pretty high, 6-point-something. Ovarian reserve was not my issue. I was somewhat unexplained, somewhat uterine factor. We decided to do a second round because if we knew we wanted to have more than one kid, two embryos might not get us there. But luckily, I’m pregnant with the second embryo from my first round.

That's awesome. My AMH was 0.28, and that was a year ago, so it’s probably even less now.

Yeah, but AMH is not the only thing that goes into what your ovarian reserve will be. It’s a good indicator, but my AMH was 6- something and yours was 0.28 and we both got a similar number—you with seven eggs and me with eight (from my second round).

That's crazy! Yeah, for the past year and a half now, every day I take three prenatals, three CoQ10 Ubiquinols and DHA. And then they had had me on some different supplements when I was going through the second round. One of them made me very nauseous.

[My gynecologist] said, “You're young, you're healthy, when you're ready, we'll revisit this.” So I'm like okay, I'm good. Fast forward to divorce, heartbreak, single at 33…I'm like, maybe I should, now that I can afford it, revisit doing this.

Some of the medication can be very heavy. I remember watching you on the show and thinking, it's tough to be taking all that medication, working full time, running around, doing a million things. It's hard.

Yeah, I was celibate and single, filming a reality show while egg freezing. I don't recommend it!

And jabbing yourself with drugs.

I mean, I'm so glad I did it, and I wanted to do my second round while we were filming. I was hoping they would document it, but they kind of brushed over it.

I'm just glad that they still showed as much of it as they did, with you injecting yourself and talking about having retrieval surgery. What didn’t they show about your experience? Do you feel like anything was under-represented?

I mean, so much. They had every opportunity to film many more things to cover this. Bravo’s demographic is mainly women around my age. I feel like there are so many women who would have been interested in seeing this play out fully, rather than stupid drama of bras and suitcases and who’s banging who and whatever else. I don't know. Maybe that's just not the show I'm on.

Yeah, I definitely think that the demographic would have been really interested to see more of your egg freezing experience.

Yeah. It's like, every time I'm crying, I just look like I'm crazy, but people had no idea. I'm glad they at least showed one home video that I sent in with my bruises and the injections and stuff because people had no idea what I was doing to my body at home every morning, afternoon, and night. There are so many things that I'm going through. So when I'm crying about this dumb sh*t, it actually has nothing to do with a hostess and a guy I used to date. I was going through so many bigger things. And it was just like, “she's crazy, she's jealous.” And I'm like no, I'm hormonal, sad, and lonely. There's a big difference.

Totally. Fertility treatment is not for the faint of heart. You were going through a lot of stuff and doing it all on your own. I feel like it’s something that they could have given more attention to.

Yeah. There was one part where I'm standing at the bar having a conversation with Dayna, and I didn't know she was going to be like, “Hey, so, I thought you liked Brett, but I went out with him anyways, and now I'm telling you. Cool.” But in that moment, I had just started on an extra injection I had to start doing for, like, four or five days that made you really really nauseous. And then I was also on anti-nausea pills.

My whole first round, I was never nauseous. It was very easy and painless. I do want people to know that it doesn't have to be hard. My first round was actually easy for me.

It just looks like I'm psycho, emotional, boy-crazy, and whatever. And I'm like no, I was just going through some sh*t.

Talk to me about the emotional side of the egg freezing process? What was that like the second time around?

The second time it was harder emotionally, because we were filming and all of that. I remember filming with [Dayna] and just looking through her. And I was thinking to myself, “please don't throw up on camera, please don't throw up on camera.” And she is talking about this connection she has with Brett and I'm like, I don't care. And she's like, “are we cool?” And I'm like, “we're cool, I don't care.” Like, oh my god, this is not important.

You were probably thinking, “This is, like, the least of my problems right now.”

I just didn’t care.

Let's take a step back. Can you walk me through how you first came to the decision to freeze your eggs and what made you want to do it? Was it difficult to decide to move forward with a second round?

So I always had a weird feeling that I would just have trouble getting pregnant. I went on birth control when I was 12 to regulate my cycle, because I was, like, bleeding out in middle school. It was so bad. It would go on for, like, four to six weeks. I was losing too much blood.

Birth control was the only thing that they could do to regulate me. So, fast forward 21 years. I had gotten off it a couple times in my 20s to see if my periods would regulate, but it just wasn’t smart if I wasn't going to be safe all of the time. And then a year after I got married, I knew we weren't in a place where we were going to try to have kids anytime soon. There were a lot of other issues we needed to tackle before we went there.

So actually, season 5, Kristin and I went to Dr. Shahin Ghadir’s office and met with Dr. Mark Surrey for initial testing. But also, thinking back to have to go in on day two or three of your period, right? Like, no way were Kristin and I synced [laughs]. Thinking back, there's no way we went in on the right day!

Right! Probably.

That day, Dr. Surrey told me my left ovary is “diminished,” which basically means it’s just smaller. So I'm getting paranoid, but also, I couldn't really afford to do [egg freezing] at the time. I was hoping for him to go, “oh no, you're great, you have years to go, don't worry.” But then it's, like, the opposite.

So then I went to my gynecologist, who did an ultrasound and told me that everything looks normal. She tells me that one ovary was slightly smaller, but no two organs are the exact same size so I have nothing to worry about. She said, “You're young, you're healthy, when you're ready, we'll revisit this.” So I'm like okay, I'm good. Fast forward to divorce, heartbreak, single at 33...I'm like, maybe I should, now that I can afford it, revisit doing this.

I went back and got the initial blood work and tests. And when Dr. Ghadir called me, he was just like, “I have to be honest with you; I'm very concerned. For your age, your AMH should be between like 1.4 and 4.2 — and you're 0.28. You need to get on all these supplements immediately. Drinking, smoking weed, everything stops today.”

I wasn’t prepared for that, but that’s what the doctor told me to do. So I went completely clean and sober for 30 days until the start of my cycle. Then I began another 13 days of injections and a week of recovery.

And how did that round go?

So I only had nine [eggs]. My doctor recommended we do it again, but I wanted to hold off a few months. I'm going to get my body back to normal, enjoy Coachella and my birthday, travel.

So I waited and did it again in the summer. That time, we got seven. But it was crazy, because I had eighteen follicles and I was thinking that we were going to get so many more eggs this time. I was so excited. So then I was just, like, low-key disappointed when I found out we only got seven. But all of them were mature, so that was good.

So what did your doctor say?

Dr. Ghadir was like, it's good but it's not great. He recommended considering a third round because it wasn't that hard on my body. So, I've been considering another round since last July, and then one of my girlfriends who is actually on the show — but I don't want to say who, because that's her story to tell — was also exploring it and came to the doctor with me recently. They told her she wasn't ready, and she had to come back the next month, so I figured I’d just wait another month, too, and then, boom. Pandemic. So now I don't know where either of us stand, but I know I have sixteen eggs for sure that are mature. But you had what? Eighteen? And then you only got two [embryos].

I figured, there's nothing wrong with just freezing my eggs for a “what if."

Yeah, but it totally depends. I also know people who had around that many eggs and have gotten ten embryos. It completely depends, and it also depends on the sperm.

That's the thing, too. My boyfriend has two beautiful, healthy kids back in Australia, so he's convinced that his sperm will just fertilize all of my eggs and they'll all be perfect, and I'm just like, eh...we'll see. He has this thing in his head where he thinks that he is just such a man that he just can rub off on me and I'll just be fertile. I'm like, I love that you think that, but it's not really how it works, honey. Like, science is science and these are my numbers.

So I do really want to do it a third time. It's just like, I'm not working right now, we're not filming. I can’t just drop another $15,000 on this right now.

Yeah, It's super expensive. But that's why being so open about what you’re going through is so important. The more people like you that are open about their journey, the more accessible treatment will be, the less expensive it will be, the less regulation there will be. Hopefully it will make it more accessible for the next wave.

Yeah, totally. I'm just like, what am I paying my insurance $550 a month for? Why does insurance not cover infertility and things like this? It's insane.

It depends on your state. We have a tool where you can select your state and it will tell you in layman’s terms what fertility insurance mandates you're entitled to. But egg freezing is hard, because it is still looked at as unnecessary or elective. And it isn’t. It's preservation. So the more people that are open about it, like you, it really does help move the needle at least a little bit.

When you were going through the egg freezing process, how did you feel about it? What was going through your head?

If I'm being honest, I've never been a person who can't wait to get married and have kids. I'm not that typical girl. When I was 28-29...[getting married] just seemed like the right step in an adult relationship. But it was never something where I was like, “I have to have this.”

I still very much enjoy travelling and doing things for myself and for other people and I'm not in a rush to have kids. I just know that I'm a very wishy-washy person. For ten years, I was like “ugh, I don't want kids, I never want kids.” And then I got married and I saw how great my ex-husband was with his six nephews, and I was like, “you're going to be a good dad one day — I do want kids.” Then we get divorced and I'm like, “yeah, you're right, I don't want kids,” and then the next relationship I did...and I just can't decide.

So I figured, there's nothing wrong with just freezing my eggs for a “what if.” Because I know myself, and if I wake up one day, forty and single, I’ll be like, “Why didn't I do that? At the time, I had the money; why didn't you just do it?” And that's why I did a second round, because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t.

I'm definitely considering a third round. But I'm not in a rush for that, I just know that a family is something that [my boyfriend and I] both want eventually.

You spoke a little bit earlier about how the second round was so tough emotionally, having to put on a smiling face and be “on” all the time while doing these injections to yourself. How did you navigate this while filming?

The first round, we weren't filming and it was very easy, a good time. But then the second round, I had a bunch of assholes around me who were like, oh you're jealous of Dayna cause she's with Max. And I'm like, I have way bigger things going on than worrying about that. Like, that is so not even the issue. So it just looks like I'm psycho, emotional, boy-crazy, and whatever. And I'm like no, I was just going through some sh*t and just didn't have the best support system in this group like I did the first round.

Tom, Ariana, Kristin, Max, Brittany, James, Raquel, they're like, Brock and my closest friends. But at the time, I wasn’t even getting scenes with them. So I didn’t really have the opportunity to be open with my feelings because the only people I'm comfortable talking about them with I'm, not filming with. It was just like, I can't tell the full story when I'm not comfortable. I'm not lying or hiding things, I don't know the others well enough to be completely vulnerable.

I was going to ask you about that. How have your friends and family supported you throughout this journey? I've definitely been in that boat where I’ve had to miss out on things because of fertility treatment. When it comes to that or just feeling generally supported, how has that played out with your friends?

Yeah, with my first round last January, Katie and Brittany went to Vegas for their birthdays the weekend of my retrieval, so I had to miss that. But everyone has been really supportive. My mom was with me at every appointment.

But I still felt like people just didn't care. We’d go out and they’d ask why I wasn’t doing shots with them, but whether it’s because I’m freezing my eggs or I simply don't want to, it shouldn’t matter.

I think that just speaks to that fact that unless someone has experienced fertility treatment themselves, they really don't understand what you're dealing with. I mean, I don't know if any of your other friends have actually moved forward with egg freezing themselves.

A couple have, yeah.

I feel like I've made really good friends and strengthened relationships through this experience with people going through the same thing. Have you found that with anybody else who you've connected with over egg freezing?

GG and MJ [from Shahs of Sunset] I have been friends with since season 1, but having the same doctor as MJ while she did IVF and being in the same world, same network, around the same age definitely just made us even closer on a different level. As much as we've been friends for so many years now, we're all putting our bodies through similar things. And MJ now has a beautiful baby and GG's is due in a little less than a month.

Were there any parts of your experience that were particularly stressful?

I am a rule follower. I don't like getting in trouble, I was always like the person at school who never got detention, raised her hand, was always on time. So I just tried to follow every step exactly as my doctor said.

There was one time I remember, I drove from Marina Del Rey to Beverly Hills because I was driving to the office to have them do them for the first few days until I got the hang of it, and I realized I forgot my little ice chest of injections. I was like, “oh my God, oh my God,” and I’m freaking out. I’m screaming at my mom, driving like a madwoman back to my house, thinking they have to be done at the exact same time every day, because I just wanted it to be so perfect. [The nurses] had to tell me I had a little leeway, that it's not going to ruin all of my eggs if I did my shot two hours later.

You just need to look at the overall future picture and know that this is the best insurance policy you can get. It's not like they're only good for a year. I don't feel a rush to do this, and that's what I try to express to other women who are my age or older, younger, divorced, single, in a relationship...whatever your situation is, if you're not ready to have a baby today, and you have the means to be able to freeze your eggs and can afford that, then why would you not do it?

I don't know where I’ll be, where Brock and I will be in five years. You never know what could happen. So I just thought, you know what, better safe than sorry. I would never regret freezing my eggs, but I would regret not doing it.

Whatever your situation is, if you're not ready to have a baby today, and you have the means to be able to freeze your eggs and can afford that, then why would you not do it? I would never regret freezing my eggs, but I would regret not doing it.

Yes, for sure. Was there anything that surprised you about the egg freezing process, or was it kind of everything that you had expected?

I feel like a lot of people can go into this thinking the worst, but I actually didn’t think it was that bad. I can do this again.

I was watching back that scene where I was sitting on my couch with Kristin, like, “I will never put my body through this again.” And now I’m like, did I really feel that way in July? Because now, I think I would actually enjoy doing it again. If it wasn't so damn expensive and we weren't in this damn pandemic, I would have already done a third round.

Yeah, I’m sure hindsight’s 20/20, but what were your thoughts at that time?

I was in such a different place in my life then, too. I was dealing with some other stuff that contributed to feeling genuinely depressed last year. There were just a lot of things that happened in my personal life that I wasn't allowed to discuss, that I couldn't talk about on the show. And it was so frustrating, because I just felt so alone in all of this.

I was doing what was best for me but at the time, and I couldn't see myself going through it again. When I watch back the last couple episodes, I'm like, wow, I was not in a good place. It doesn't even come across on the show how dark of a place I was in. Just watching it back knowing what I was going through I was like yeah, of course I said that, because I was depressed as f*ck. Things eventually started to turn around for me, and I got in a better place, like just emotionally, mentally, work-wise and everything. And when I was least expecting it, I met my boyfriend...and now we're really happy.

At the time, I was in a different mental state than I am in now. But now I just wish egg freezing wasn't so expensive, because I am actually excited to document this journey in the right way. I think it would just be so huge for women out there who just see this topic get skimmed over and not really talked about. You never see the full process.

Totally. We need more content out there that accurately shows what egg freezing is really like. Before I let you go, do you have any advice to others who might be considering freezing their eggs?

Do it. Literally, I tell all of my friends: if you can afford it — and even if you can’t, there are amazing places that do payment plans — it's the best investment in your future. I don’t think it should even be a question of “should I or shouldn't I?”. You should. If you're thinking about it, then you probably should do it. Even if it was the hardest experience, I'm not going to regret setting up my future. It may be hard. But do I regret doing it? No. I’ve never met anyone who said they regretted freezing their eggs.

Right. I haven't either! I think you could say the same for any fertility treatment. In my case, yes, it sucked doing treatment for over two years, but now I'm pregnant. It's brought me closer to actually having a baby, so while it wasn't I regret it? No.

I feel like we could probably talk about this stuff forever! Thanks so much for your time. I know everything is crazy right now and we really appreciate it.

Of course, you got it!