Why did you decide to freeze your eggs?
I've always known that I wanted children when the time was right. If I don't ever have kids, I feel like I will be missing out on a big part of what life is all about. I was just coming out of a relationship and got concerned about the clock ticking, so to speak, and the amount of time it would take to develop another relationship to the point of starting a family. I saw this as a window of opportunity to do something that would prolong my ability to have children and take the pressure off of dating so that I can find the right guy for me.
[pull_quote layout="0" quote="FCI worked with me to adjust the protocol so that when I was on a business trip the cycle was uninterrupted."]
How did freezing your eggs affect your day-to-day life?
The entire process took 6-7 months. I am fortunate that I work from home and have flexibility in scheduling appointments. But I do travel for work, and that was a concern. FCI worked with me to adjust the protocol so that when I was on a business trip the cycle was uninterrupted. And FCI does allow patients to be monitored in remote facilities so that is an option for women who are on the road during their treatment. In terms of taking medication, I wanted to be home to give myself injections, which meant I was on a schedule every night for a couple of weeks. I didn't go out in the evenings as much but that was my own personal choice. It's also recommended to be more sedentary for the week before and after egg retrieval to reduce the risk of ovarian torsion, so I was off my feet more than usual.
Did anything hurt? What does it feel like?
I would describe the shots as "startling" but I never experienced any real pain. When I considered the outcome of a child someday it's completely worth it. The most "pain" I felt was the week before and after egg retrieval, which was bloating in my lower abdomen. Gaining 5 pounds in 10 days made me uncomfortable -- I felt my ovaries were enlarged, had to go to the bathroom more frequently, couldn't sit in scrunched up positions, and couldn't always button my pants. But it's not like a pain for which I needed medication -- it was just discomfort.
How old were you when you decided to freeze your eggs?
38, but I started the process a year earlier with a fertility awareness checkup. I was curious about my fertility potential and if there was any reason why I needed to be proactive about having children immediately.
Did insurance cover anything?
Funny enough, I had been laid off of my job prior to starting treatment and intentionally searched for an insurance plan that would cover most of the egg freezing cycle. When I got a new job, I declined the company's insurance and still paid my own, because the math made sense. I made a lot of phone calls to insurance companies to ask some questions like -- "How many 'procedures' will you cover and is that per lifetime or per benefit period? What counts as a procedure? What pharmacy would I need to use in order to have xyz meds covered? Is FCI an in-network facility?" Being proactive like that means I paid a little more for insurance premiums but less total costs. Blue Cross covered every expense (aside from deductibles) except for the actual vitrification of the eggs... but all the blood work, ultrasounds, medication, and surgery were expenses the insurance covered.
How many eggs did you retrieve?
I talked with my doctor about how many eggs I would need in order to have two children. Each retrieval was different, but after four rounds I have 25 M2 (fully mature) and 13 M1 (partially mature). Producing more eggs in one round is not necessarily better -- and I was happy with a slow and steady pace to produce good quality eggs in each round.
Who was your physician and what were your experiences with him/her?
My physician is Dr. Christopher Sipe and it was by random happenstance that I became his patient (I called to make an appointment with whomever was available). I couldn't be happier! Dr. Sipe has a great personality for this line of work. He is personable, humorous and well-trained. I appreciate that his career has spanned multiple facilities and practices. Dr. Sipe made recommendations about my treatment protocol and when I had questions or opinions about an approach I wanted to try, he worked with me to accommodate. I really felt like we were a team.
Did you date during the process? Did you share this with your romantic partners? If so, when and how? What was their reaction?
Yes I dated but looking back I'm not so sure that was the best idea in my circumstance of being newly single :) Some guys I would tell, others I would not, based on their personality. It typically came up early on when we talked about a desire to have children. Most every guy I told seemed ok with it as a conversation piece, but when it affected his life (e.g., going straight home after dinner to take meds, not having sex) it just didn't go over well. People will say "then he wasn't the right guy for you" but I also think that it legitimately can be a hard thing to tolerate from a new love interest. Also, at one point the hormones really took over and I felt like a sex-crazed teenager -- ha! While that was fun it wasn't my true personality and I don't think I showed the best side of myself. Looking back I can smile, as it's all just part of my life's journey.
How has this changed your outlook moving forward?
Honestly, it hasn't changed my outlook all that much. I have a goal of starting a family when the time is right, and this was a smart step to help make that happen. Once I do have kids, I'm sure my outlook will change considerably :)
What words of advice do you have for others considering this?
Don't wait. I really wish this topic was more prevalent and that I considered treatment when I was a bit younger. If you are curious, then go to an event where you can hear more about the process and talk with those who have been through it. A good first step for me was the Fertility Awareness Checkup -- for $90 you can find out some telling information about your hormone levels and follicle counts. It's also a glimpse into what the treatment process will be like too, because the blood draw and ultrasound for the checkup is the same as what happens during a treatment cycle.
[pull_quote layout="0" quote="A good friend reminded me that I actually just took a big step forward in proactively managing my fertility and ability to have a family one day."]
Is there anything you want to add?
For a moment I was a bit sad feeling like my life was on hold with all of the treatments and procedures. But a good friend reminded me that I actually just took a big step forward in proactively managing my fertility and ability to have a family one day. No matter what the time or costs, this "insurance policy" has given me an immense peace of mind and the ability to move forward in reaching my biggest life goal. Priceless.
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