“We both want kids someday,” I said. “The only difference is, if I don’t freeze my eggs now, I might never be able to have them. But the option for you to have kids is always on the table, no matter how much money you do or don’t have in the bank. With that in mind, what do you think about us splitting the cost of egg freezing?”
It took every ounce of willpower in me to ask my boyfriend of almost two years if he would be open to splitting the cost of harvesting and freezing my eggs. Not so much because I was afraid of his reaction—though asking the man you are not legally bound to in any way to invest in your hypothetical future children is scary—but because I felt a deep sense of shame that I couldn’t pay for it myself.
The fact that egg freezing has me facing bankruptcy is, frankly, ridiculous. I’m a 32-year-old writer and small business owner who has worked very hard to be debt-free. I’ve saved a modest sum of money over the past decade and placed it into a savings account, which I’ve now labeled “Nest Egg vs. Egg Freezing.” The balance is a few thousand dollars less than the cost of the recommended rounds of egg harvesting, freezing, and storage for women over 27. In America, the average cost for this is $26,000—not including the cost of IVF when you’re actually ready to use your frozen eggs.
If I use my savings to harvest and freeze my eggs, I could lose everything I’ve spent a decade building: my financial freedom, my credit, my ability to afford my current modest lifestyle. But if I don’t spend my life savings on freezing my eggs, there’s a very real chance that I’ll never get to realize my dream of becoming a mom. My own mom was diagnosed with endometriosis in her 20s, and conceiving me, her only child, was extremely difficult. While I haven’t officially been diagnosed with the same condition, I did inherit many of the same symptoms and have been warned by doctors that pregnancy may be more difficult for me than for most.
My clock, in other words, is never far from my mind. But the simple truth is, I’m not ready to have kids yet. There are circumstances in my life that are too unstable and uncertain for me to be comfortable bringing a child into the equation. Deciding when to start a family is an incredibly personal decision. For me, trying to get pregnant right now feels selfish and irresponsible. Hence my desire to freeze my eggs to ensure a greater chance at a healthy pregnancy later, when I am ready.
It took some soul-searching to figure out why asking for financial help from my boyfriend made me feel such a sense of shame. After all, married women split the cost of egg freezing with their partners, right? We’re used to having conversations with our partners about preventing pregnancy, so why was it so hard for me to talk about planning for one?
The Big Question
Preparing for this conversation, I talked to my female friends about the dilemma facing so many of us as we enter our 30s; we’re not ready to have kids, but we can’t afford to freeze our eggs by ourselves. But when I broached the subject of the costs of fertility planning with my unmarried male friends, none of them had a clue what I was talking about. If anything (and I mean anything), they spoke about saving up to provide for a family down the road. But having a conversation with their current partners about those costs wasn’t even on their radar.