By now I’m assuming that most of you have already read my blog post from a few weeks ago, where I talked about my conflicted feelings on having children (if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest starting there first!)
I’ll preface this post the same way I prefaced that one by saying that fertility can be a really tricky, really emotional subject, and, more than anything else, it’s also really personal. If the topic is at all triggering for you, please know that I’ll be speaking very candidly about a lot of it below.
When I decided to move forward with the process of freezing my eggs, it’s something I’d been thinking about for a while. Now that I’m on the other side of it, I can genuinely say I made the right decision—and I wish I’d done it sooner. (Like, when I was 30. More on that below.)
Also: I’ve been using the term “freezing my eggs” because it’s more universal to explain, but if you wanna get technical, Matt & I actually froze embryos. (Same process as freezing eggs, except you add sperm & it costs more.)
MY EGG (EMBRYO) FREEZING EXPERIENCE
THE FERTILITY CLINIC
Anywho… the fertility clinic I used was Kindbody. I had seen their ads and heard about them from several people, so I booked an assessment and felt good about moving forward with them. Quite frankly, I didn’t feel like “shopping around” as it was hard enough to get the courage to make the assessment in the first place.
I mentioned this on my IG story, but in full transparency, I reached out to Kindbody to see if I could partner with them in telling my story, because I planned on sharing it anyway. They offered me a discount (which was super generous and I am VERY grateful!) but it was still a very expensive investment for Matt & I, as my insurance didn’t cover a cent (most insurance does not.)
The experience I’m sharing below is 100% unfiltered—the good, the bad, the ugly.
If you are considering doing egg freezing, embryo banking, or IVF and you live in a city where there is a Kindbody, they offered me a code to share: you can use SILBSQUAD for 50% off a fertility assessment and $1,000 off of an egg freezing cycle. (Trust me this is major… I was scraping together every possible discount I could get.)
As I went through the process myself, I decided to keep a daily diary of what I was experiencing, how I was feeling, etc. I knew I would NEVER remember the dirty details if I didn’t write them down, and I also remember how desperate I was to read something like this prior to doing it myself.
I hope this helps give you clarity in your decision, or at least sheds some light on what the experience is like if it’s something you’re considering!
P.S. If you’d prefer to see this in video-form, head to my Instagram. I have an egg freezing highlight and a few reels documenting the process.
About two months prior to beginning my egg freezing cycle, I went in for my fertility assessment. The clinic was chic (just like the pictures I had seen.) Didn’t feel scary or clinical.
I had blood work done, and then they did an ultrasound to count my follicles (which carry eggs.) Based on a combination of what they see in the bloodwork + ultrasound, the team is able to give you a overview of your fertility health (aka how fertile you are + how many eggs you might be able to produce in a cycle + whether they perceive any issues etc.)
Remember when I said I wish I had done this sooner? That was a reality I faced during my fertility assessment. I don’t know why seeing the numbers came as such a shock to me. I guess because in my mind I feel like a really young 34-year-old (lol) I imagined my ovaries would still be alive and kickin’ like they were in my 20s. (Spoiler alert: they were not.)
Of course, I should have known better—obviously our fertility declines as we age (which is why it’s statistically much harder to get pregnant when you’re 40 vs 30.)
Egg Count (And Why You Shouldn’t Discuss It)
I’m not going to go into detail about my egg count, but I’ll just say that while it could’ve been better, it also could’ve been worse. One important thing I learned throughout this process is that there is absolutely no need for me to share “numbers” (believe it or not I had complete strangers ask me how many eggs I had retrieved.)
Unless you’re chatting with your best friends about it, I think a good rule of thumb is to avoid talking about egg count/follicle count at all costs. Comparing yourself to someone else is a shitty feeling in general—and when you’re talking about fertility, that feeling is multiplied by 100.
PREPPING FOR THE CYCLE & PRICING
In preparation for the cycle, other than doing a bunch of blood tests & ultrasounds, I sat down with a doctor at Kindbody and went over all of my options. We talked about timing, pricing, what my fertility meant for my age, etc.
You’ll see the pricing breakdown they provided above. I appreciated that it was clear, up front, and transparent. (No matter what clinic you go to, I would highly recommend having someone give you a detailed breakdown, in writing, of exactly what you can anticipate in terms of ALL COSTS—including medication, bloodwork, etc.)
I also appreciated that they laid out ALL the possible options for me, taking into consideration my lifestyle, how Matt & I feel about having children, and our “timeline.”
By the end of that appointment, I felt confident that I was going to move forward, but over the next few days, I still had a ton of questions. The team was super responsive (they have a portal where you can message with the staff) and they never seemed annoyed when I asked the same question 25 times.
PRO TIP: Be sure to check with your employer to see if they cover egg freezing/IVF. Most don’t, but it’s something that is becoming more and more common. I’ve also heard stories from women who were able to successfully lobby their employers to offer coverage. As another alternative, websites like FutureFamily.com help finance all things fertility, and I know that Kindbody offers financing as an option.
Ultimately the cost of the medications and how to go about getting them was the part that I found most confusing. (The price of the egg freezing or embryo banking cycle—around $6,500 and $10,000 respectively at Kindbody—does not include medication.)
The meds can cost anywhere from $5,000 – $7,000… and I learned the hard way that the number you’re initially quoted may not even be enough to last you through your entire cycle. I had to re-order meds 3 times. My total was in the $6,000 range. (I feel sick just typing that.)
I won’t try to explain it here, but if you work with Kindbody (or any fertility clinic) they should be able to walk you though it step-by-step until it seems slightly less confusing.
The most important thing to know is that whatever you think it’s going to cost…add $1,000 – $2,000 to that.
Oh another thing I learned: it’s all injections. Nothing oral. I don’t know why but I assumed I would be taking a bunch of pills and only doing the shots occasionally? (I assumed wrong. Just lots and lots of shots.)
Another tip: if possible, I’d recommend a speciality pharmacy that specifically deals with fertility medications. I used Schraft’s (they ship nationwide) — they were actually the cheapest option for me and were absolutely incredible. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good pharmacy throughout this experience.
The med situation is overwhelming… and you want to have a place that will take the time to explain everything to you, overnight things to you as needed, help you with dosage, etc.
MY EGG FREEZING DAY-BY-DAY DAIRY
Had my a cycle visit at Kindbody this morning to find out if I was able to start. Needed to have blood drawn (to check hormone levels) and have an ultrasound to make sure everything looked ok before I got the green light to officially move forward with injections.
The appointment itself was quick and totally painless, but I was a little anxious about getting the OK because, to be honest, I just want to get this over with. I always assume the worst, so I kind of prepared myself to find out that there was something wrong and I wouldn’t be able to start today. Luckily I got the all clear.
Let the games begin.
*First Night of Injections*
Kindbody has a VERY organized online portal that gives you a daily schedule of exactly what you’re supposed to do, what medications to inject, how much, and when to schedule your next appointment. I LOVED THAT. You can also message their nurses/doctors through the portal, and they gave me a WhatsApp number to text in case of emergency.
I watched a few video tutorials on the Kindbody website last night to prepare myself for how to do the injections. They were super helpful and made it seem *slightly* less daunting. Also, the pharmacy I used for all the meds has been AWESOME—they even offered to do a Zoom with me for the first night to make sure I felt comfortable and knew what I was doing. (Thank you Adam!)
First night of injections went surprisingly well! Definitely confusing to get the hang of, but the shots themselves didn’t hurt at ALL (needles were tiny).
Kind of a weird feeling to stab yourself but otherwise easy peasy. Though I did get a really weird head rush during the second shot. I think it was adrenaline.
A few hours later abdomen area feels a little tight but I can’t tell if it’s just in my head or actually happening. Will see how I’m feeling mañana! PS I can already tell these are going to be the longest 12 days of my life 🤣
Felt totally normal today! No weird side effects at all. Was a little intimidated doing the shots again but definitely less scary the second time. Noticing faint tightness in my lower abdomen area (similar to last night) in the few hours after the shots but overall feeling good.
Injections stung a little more tonight but still not too bad! Got a headache afterward and slightly lightheaded. Kindbody said that would be normal and is often caused by dehydration so I chugged a bunch of water.
Shared on IG today that I’m doing egg freezing and got so many great tips. Menopur (one of the fertility meds I’m on) stings a little bit.
PRO TIP: Lots of women suggested icing the area before the shots. I did my first few days without icing and was totally fine, but the icing does help (with the Menopur in particular!) I used these ice globe roller balls (which are great for depuffing your face too.)
Had my first appointment this morning since I started injections. (I’ll now have to go every other day.) It was a breeze – was in and out in 15 mins. They run a tight ship.
Bloodwork and ultrasound were normal I guess (otherwise I probably would have heard something!) The ultrasound tech said it seemed like I was responding well to the meds.
Cant believe I’m only on day 4 🤯 felt light-headed immediately after shots and my body feels kind of achey. Got hit with a wave of tiredness for an hour or so – it’s smart that they have you do these shots at night.
Got tired and a little headachey after injections today but otherwise felt great.
PRO TIP: Hydration. One major side effect of the meds is that they make you dehydrated. Liquid IV packets were a lifesaver for me.
Another appointment this morning. Nurses and team said everything was looking good and I should just continue with my shots.
Still feeling good – no cramping, bloating etc.
Felt totally fine all day and immediately after shot. Now a few hours later I’m a little bloated and crampy. Had to text pharmacy because I realized that tomorrow I’ll be out of meds. They’re going to overnight it to me. $$$$
First day I really noticed bloating start. Also feeling a little light headed and sluggish! Trying to hydrate a lot and take it easy! Also getting random waves of nausea but all things considered, I’m fine and have been working full days as normal.
Tonight was the first night when I kind of felt like… ok I’m kind of over this. It’s felt like a month, not a week.
Had an appointment this morning and WE ARE IN THE HOME STRETCH. Told that I need to start another (third) injection as of tonight. Ran out of meds again. More $$$$
Three injections today. Counting down the days. Still no major side effects.
They say the cycles are supposed to be anywhere from 10 – 14 days. The final few days feel like they are CRAWLING.
Went in for my appointment this morning (Monday) and thought I would be able to do retrieval on Wednesday (based on my ultrasound from the weekend) but I found out I need another day. UGH. Also means I need to re-order meds AGAIN. $$$$erious bummer.
Another day at this point feels like a lifetime. So now it’s looking like the retrieval will be Thursday (the full 14 days.)
They can’t schedule the retrieval until they’re confident that the majority of the eggs are fully “mature” in size. (They measure the eggs at each ultrasound.) It’s such a specific science.
Went to get COVID test. Needed to do that for retrieval day. Starting to feel crampy and bloated. And tired and cranky. Ready for this to be over.
Finished injections tonight and HOLY SHIT I can tell there is a lot happening down there. Someone told me that by the end it feels like you’re carrying around a sack of potatoes. They weren’t wrong.
Received a letter in the mail from blood test place that appeared to be a bill for $11,000. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F? Had a complete meltdown. (Later found out that I’m supposed to “ignore this” but a warning would have been nice! I’m on day 11 of hormones and extremely fragile ATM.)
Had an appointment today and confirmed Thurs for retrieval. Thank the good lord. Trigger shot day!! (The trigger shot is yet another shot you give yourself exactly 36 hours prior to your retrieval, which, like…triggers the eggs to see their way out.)
All the symptoms I said I previously didn’t have are now happening. Very bloated (not crampy though) and my boobs hurt like a MF. Had to take trigger at exactly 11:30pm in order to perfectly timed it to retrieval.
Even though they gave me a tutorial and videos to watch for the trigger shot, I was still a little confused and nervous since it was diff than the previous shots I had been doing.
Nothing today other than bloating. Prepping mentally for tomorrow. They told me I couldn’t wear any makeup or perfume or lotion so I went down a google rabbit hole to understand why that was, and ended up knee deep in forums and medical journals.
Apparently THE EGGS ARE VERY SENSITIVE TO SMELLS. (LOL do u die?) Can’t make this shit up. These are the most high-maintenance bitches I have ever encountered.
I can’t have anything to eat or drink after 12am and nothing in the morning before the procedure. I swear I think the anxiety and the build-up will be worse than the procedure itself. I’m getting knocked out so I prob won’t even feel it. SO PUMPED FOR THIS TO BE OVER!!!
Legitimately feel like I am a goose waddling around with a gut full of golden (very expensive, like 14K) eggs. I’m so scared of something happening to them hahaa I’m hyper-conscious of my every move. MUST PROTECT THE EGGS AT ALL COSTS.
Retrieval day has arrived… PRAISE JESUS (I’m Jewish but it seemed appropriate.)
Was super nervous but just wanted to get there ASAP so we could get the ball rolling (and so that I could be put under anesthesia and remember none of it.)
Got there at 10, they took my vitals, and by 10:40 I was in a hospital gown, with an IV in my arm, settling onto an examination table. Before I was even able to process that I was suddenly spread eagle in a room with multiple strangers in between my nether regions… I WAS OUT LIKE A LIGHT.
They did their business down there (using a needle to remove the eggs from each follicle, if you must know)… the process allegedly took 15-20 minutes but in my mind I blinked and it was over. PROPOPHOL IS CRAZY MAN.
Brought back to recovery. I took a bunch of ridiculous videos on my phone where I seemed high AF, and then my angel of a husband came in, hugged me, and the water works commenced.
The nurse had given me a stack of panty-liners because spotting after the retrieval is common. Matt grabbed one from the stack, unwrapped it, began blotting my face, and was like “these are for tears right?” before I was able to explain to him what a pantyliner was. (I have never laughed so hard in my life.)
After about an hour, we were free to go! I was told to drink tons of electrolytes (cue the Gatorade 0s, Coconut Water, and hydration packets). They also advised me to increase my salt intake and protein.
When I got home, for some reason, all I wanted was a huge bowl of mac & cheese. (Comfort food is a thing I guess?) Anyway, I inhaled it and then immediately regretted my decision… because being insanely bloated from surgery + eating something super heavy that I wouldn’t normally eat = recipe for disaster.
Pro Tip: When you get home from retrieval, I’d recommend eating something a bit easier on your stomach, like chicken noodle soup or ramen.
Other than the mac & cheese incident, I felt OK the first day. I took tylenol, used a heating pad, and laid low in bed.
Pro Tip: A heating pad will be your best friend. You MUST order one before retrieval. Trust me. It was one of the only things that brought me a lot of relief from the bloating/cramping. I recommend this one from Amazon.
Day 2 and 3 were worse than day 1. Just lots of discomfort, bloating, and cramping. I kept telling my friends I felt like I had ingested a massive water balloon. From what I’ve heard, every single person has a different recovery situation—I had friends who were completely fine the next day, and other people who took a week to get back to normal.
I would say by day 4 I felt a lot better. And by day 5/6 my bloating has gone down by like 70%. (Apparently you won’t feel 100% back to yourself until after you get your next period.)
Pro Tip: One of my girlfriends who did egg freezing told me about this Dandelion tea that everyone swears by post-retrieval for bloating. I bought it and it definitely helped!
As I said earlier in the post, I don’t regret my decision—and I’m hoping I don’t feel differently when I find out what the final embryo count is. (I’m still waiting to hear about the number of embryos we ended up with because it takes a week for the embryologist to know which embryos are viable for freezing.)
The reality of IVF & egg freezing is that you could very well go through this entire process and only end up with 1 embryo—or none at all. It’s just a risk that you have to be willing to take.
In the meantime, I will be keeping my fingers crossed…
If nothing else, I do feel confident about the fact that sharing my journey has helped so many of you, and it opened up a lot of conversations that are typically held “behind closed doors.”
I’m planning to do a Q&A with one of the doctors from Kindbody, so if you have questions or want to share any tips from your own experiences, please leave them below!