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What to Know Before Considering Fertility Treatment

How to start the conversation and plan for the future

Photo credit @naomipwilkinson

Fertility needs to be talked about more.

Just as many companies such as Billie and Dame, are breaking the stigma on women’s health, the walls around family planning and fertility need to come down too.

Celmatix (a genetic testing company helping women and clinics better their practices) ran a campaign in April entitled #saythefword, raising awareness about female fertility. While there are many organizations out there to help you on your sexual and fertility journey, navigating the information can be quite overwhelming. It’s important to do your research, understand fertility and family planning, and decide the best path for you.

If you are considering freezing your eggs or want to know more about fertility treatments, here are some important facts to know before starting your journey – because having all the information on your side, can only help you create the future you envision.

Freezing my eggs/IVF is a one and done thing

If you are career-focused and are a total boss-babe, freezing your eggs can be a great option. However, it’s not an in-and-out appointment like your yearly visit to the gyno/OBGYN. Freezing eggs can take 6 months to a year. Once you decide to freeze your eggs, you’ll need to start taking hormone therapy drugs for about 3 months. From there based on your cycle and age, your physician will determine the best time to retrieve the eggs. After retrieval, your eggs will the be cryogenically frozen.

Note: Before this even happens, you’ll need to have a consultation with a fertility specialist, have an exam, pap smear, blood work, and ultrasound.

Many physicians will commonly recommend freezing your eggs in your late 20s to early 30s to ensure the quality of the eggs. However, it’s important to know your fertility levels- next time you make a gyno appointment, ask for an AMH test which is a good indicator of a woman’s ovarian reserve. Freezing your eggs is a great option if you aren’t sure when you want to have a family. Eggs don’t expire, however, the risk of birth complications do increase with age. But remember, your fertility journey isn’t transactional- it can be a longer experience and change over time, just as your personal goals and preferences change.

Insurance will cover this since it’s a medical procedure

Insurance doesn’t typically cover ANY of this. Freezing your eggs (the drugs + retrieval process) can cost around $10,000 plus a $250-$500 yearly storage fee. Additionally, for many health insurance policies to cover fertility treatment, an individual needs to be medically diagnosed as infertile, meaning they have attempted to conceive naturally for 12 months and have had no success. However, this definition isn’t inclusive of all types of families.

Your Insurance Will Pay for IVF But Only If You Life in These States

I Can See My Gyno or Go to Any Special Facility

It’s important to find a facility that you click with. While some centers might have less costly prices, it doesn’t mean the care and outcomes are great- or vice versa. Price isn’t an indicator of quality in the healthcare system. Make sure to find a facility that has high outcomes of successful pregnancies and births as well as a physician that you are comfortable with.

So where do I begin?

There’s no easy checklist and one journey that applies to all. Since each person is uniquely different, the fertility journey will vary. Tammy Sun, the founder of Carrot Fertility, shed some light on where to start.

  • It’s important to first have the conversation with yourself. Do you want children? If so, but you aren’t sure when looking into your options is a great place to start. The sooner you start the conversation, the better.

  • Once you have a conversation with yourself, if you have a significant other or partner, have a conversation with them. Speaking with family and friends is another great place to begin.

  • After you’ve broken the ice and started the conversation, speak with your OBGYN- they can help you start the process or be a terrific resource to guide you to a fertility specialist based on your needs and goals.

  • Be proactive- just as you are a go-getter for other aspects in your life, take your fertility journey into your own hands. The more you talk about it and open doors for yourself, the more doors you open for others. Do your research, ask all the questions, reach out to friends, family, doctors, or even your HR team for more resources.

While starting to engage with your fertility journey can seem scary or overwhelming, it’s important to know that the technology available now is the best it’s ever been. Egg retrieval rates, unfreezing, and success rates are as good as ever- and there is a rapid acceleration in the progress of fertility technology available.

No matter where you are in your life, start the conversation with yourself. It’s never too early to start thinking about your goals in life- whether that includes a family or not.

Want more?

Here is a free quiz to tell you the chances of you getting pregnant this year. 

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