Most people who seek out a fertility doctor are couples who’ve had trouble conceiving. But a growing number of women are going in alone, not to have a child now, but to freeze their eggs and maybe use them in a few years.
It’s a process that “didn’t really become available in the U.S. until about 2002, 2004,” says Sarah Elizabeth Richards. She chronicles her own experience and that of three other women in her new book, “Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It.”
The industry is growing rapidly, she says: “There’s a study showing that more than half of fertility clinics now offer egg freezing.”
Richards points to a cultural moment that suggest egg freezing has finally become mainstream -- Kim Kardashian talked about it on her reality TV show.
Richards spent $50,000 to freeze her eggs.
“It is a lot of money. I had to make tradeoffs obviously," she says. "I had to choose to spend that money on that rather than vacations or down payments or cars. I didn’t want to be in my mid-40s spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on IVF rounds that might not work.”
She profiles a handful of other women who also froze their eggs in her book. Not all of them were able to give birth using their frozen eggs and had to find other ways to conceive. Richards asked them if they regretted the decision to get the procedure done when it ultimately didn’t work. She says they didn’t, “and the years after you freeze...those are years without anxiety.”
Richards acknowledges the technology is still relatively new but says “success rates are much better now” than they were and are comparable to more traditional IVF treatments.
Richards depleted her savings in her efforts to freeze her eggs. One of the women she profiled used her credit card to finance it. She says she hopes in the future, “prices will go down and it will become available to a lot more women.”