This post is written for women who are curious to learn more about freezing their eggs abroad as an option to make egg-freezing more affordable and accessible.
First things first, I’m sure many of you may know this, but I just want to make sure we all start on the same page with a pretty basic explanation of what egg freezing is:
Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is a [procedure] in which a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen, and stored to preserve reproductive potential in women of reproductive age.UCLA
Prior to the actual egg retrieval, there is a ‘runway’ process that begins with hormone level blood tests, starting hormone injections (‘stimulation meds’ or ‘stims’) and the monitoring of the development of follicles. The egg retrieval procedure is performed vaginally using the same transvaginal ultrasound at the monitoring visits however a needle is guided into every follicle. The fluid in the follicle is aspirated and the embryologist will take this retrieved fluid from the follicles and eventually remove the eggs from the fluid in order to freeze them.
Does it hurt? I found myself likening the discomfort of my egg retrieval to that of menstrual cramps, but of course, everyone will have a different experience. I also noticed that my levels of discomfort varied after each retrieval. For example after one retrieval I felt great enough to go shopping afterwards, after another retrieval it was me = my heating pad + couch for the rest of the day dealing with the menstrual cramp sensations.
Let’s Look At Why Freeze Your Eggs Abroad
In this challenging time of when women, particularly in the U.S., women are re-examining their relationship to their reproductive a rights, it is crucial to be able to look outside the box to help you make the best decisions for your reproductive path.
Chances are you pay your insurance bills and put away money for your investments monthly, budgeting for your option to have children later makes sense.
So you may think, “never-would-I-ever travel abroad for something like egg-freezing!” I completely understand that reservation, especially when considering that this may be your first ‘big’ medical procedure. That’s what happened to me! I had never so much as broken a bone in my body before! Prior to egg retrievals I had only had my wisdom teeth extracted. (The wisdom teeth coming out was worse for me.)
I mean, you would be traveling to a foreign country where English may not the first language (but it is entirely reasonable to assume that both your patient-care coordinator and doctor will speak English.) Would the language barrier be a complete deal-breaker for you?
It is a medical procedure, so what if something ‘goes wrong’? I’m definitely not going to bend logic by saying things ‘go wrong’ all the time at clinics and hospitals in the U.S. or say the opposite even. Simply put, the ‘wrong’ can happen anywhere. I absolutely know that you would do your due diligence and follow-up with your chosen clinic about what the risks are. Choosing an accredited ISO clinic is obviously necessary and I absolutely know that you wouldn’t select a suspicious clinic to begin with! This is actually a great question to simply ask the clinic and observe how they respond to your concerns.
Ask yourself: Do you feel heard when you voice this concern?
Would you say that you would never swim in the ocean because there are sharks in the ocean? What about if you said you would never fly in a plane because there’s a possibility of the airplane not landing properly? If you don’t get on planes or swim in oceans, then yes, perhaps yes, freezing your eggs abroad is not for you. Most clinics abroad will require getting on a plane and crossing a body of water!
A sprinkle o’ Shakespeare…Courage mounteth with occasion.
Freezing your eggs abroad is an interesting alternative to freezing them within your own country if the cost per retrieval is substantial. And is definitely worth considering if you find yourself wanting to do more than one round of egg retrievals in order to freeze your desired number of eggs.
We have the power to choose and shape our destiny in the way that we want, and I believe that the truest desires are, in fact, sacred. Sound too woo? Just think of it this way: It shouldn’t sound too woo at all to admit you would like to have the OPTION to have children later in life.
Don’t Let Money Be The Main Reason Why You Decide Not to Freeze Your Eggs
This post was meant to highlight an opportunity able to access egg freezing as opposed to paying $8000 to $15,000 for one round of egg retrieval and egg freezing. Some of the variations account for location and the costs of the medicines, and your required level of care. Understandably, everyone responds differently to the medications used. But, being that this is not an exclusively medical-focused post, nor am I attempting to give you any medical advice, but rather one meant to present a possibility of what else is available, I encourage you to speak with your clinic regarding your own family-building goals.
How important is the cost of an egg retrieval in your decision to freeze your eggs? If the cost of this investment weighs in heavily as a factor for you then you owe it to yourself to do enough research to get more comfortable in making this investment in yourself.
Savvy tip! You may want to leave yourself the option to have IVF within the same clinic (country) where you have chosen to freeze your eggs.
But if the average cost of a round of IVF in Greece is now around 3500 Euro (this was a median number based on the cost of an average round of IVF in July of 2022 per the four clinics I visited. The amount will actually be less because this includes the egg retrieval costs. You will already have the oocytes!) It may be worthwhile to do a quick look at what the cost of IVF in the country you are considering as part of the research for your egg-freezing. And it doesn’t hurt to get a quote on what the yearly estimated storage costs of freezing your eggs will be. Looking at the big picture in this way will also help you decide whether to have your eggs frozen abroad.
Yes, it is possible to have them shipped back to your home country, simply check with your chosen clinic about how easy it would be to ship back to a clinic located within your home state if you want to have that option. Also, when researching this at several of the clinics in Greece, it was recommended to me to keep in mind that different states within the U.S. have different laws in receiving international cryogenic shipments so you will need to check with your chosen clinic well ahead of time.
In my next post, I will be sharing more on my trip to Greece to visit four of the largest fertility clinics in Greece. I cover some of the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of traveling and staying in these Greek cities…just as if I were going to go there for an egg retrieval myself.
It’s easy to watch YouTube videos on locations in Greece to learn more about how to plan a great vacation! For restaurants and those post-retrieval vacation ideas on where to go in Greece, YouTube videos are very helpful! However, they won’t necessarily be of value when it comes to specifically sharing on the areas of town where the clinics are actually located.
Typically clinics are not located downtown, the city center, where most touristy spots tend to be located. This makes sense since most fertility clinics are located in newer and more modern construction that supports medical facilities.
I hope you found this post helpful in your egg-freezing journey! By electing to freeze your eggs sooner, rather than later, I believe that it is possible to create even more freedom for yourself and feel more secure in knowing that you have done your best to give yourself the option to decide later whether you want to have children. After all, isn’t that what the perfect financial strategy is? A compliment of insurance and a diverse mix-of-risk investments?
What’s holding you back? Is there something you would like to look-into more to move forward with egg-freezing? Individual calls to look at what it would take for you to move forward with egg-freezing using NLP techniques are now available!
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