What are the costs of egg freezing? And does insurance cover it?
LAST UPDATED: Aug 06, 2021
9 MIN READ
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Advancements in reproductive medicine and healthcare help us feel agency over our reproductive health and work toward our fertility goals on our own timelines. With egg freezing, an increasingly popular method of fertility preservation, you can preserve the number and quality of eggs you have today to potentially use them to try to conceive later in life. While egg freezing doesn't guarantee a future pregnancy, it can be a great option — but, like many other aspects of pregnancy, birth, and parenting, egg freezing is an expensive medical procedure. And, unfortunately, health insurance doesn’t always cover it.
Understanding what to expect financially when you freeze your eggs can help you prepare ahead of time for those costs — and give you insight into financial assistance programs and other ways to cover those costs.
If you’re considering freezing your eggs, keep reading to get answers to your questions about egg freezing costs, what can impact them, and how you may be able to get financial assistance. But first, here are the biggest takeaways:
Egg freezing (aka oocyte cryopreservation) is a fertility preservation technique that preserves the quality of your eggs (and the quantity of however many you're able to retrieve) during your younger years for future use.
The exact price of egg freezing varies depending on your clinic and region, but the price range for the procedure alone is usually between $5,000 and $10,000 per cycle. Other cost considerations include medication (which brings costs up to $10,000-$12,000 per cycle), storage fees (if they're not included in the procedure costs), donor sperm (if you need it), and in vitro fertilization (IVF) if you choose to use the frozen eggs later in life (which could mean an additional $8,000-$12,000).
Your age, clinic location, anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) level, and the number of eggs retrieved in one cycle can all impact exactly how much egg freezing costs for you.
Only 19 states currently require insurance companies to supply coverage for infertility treatments, but there are options available for financial assistance.
How many eggs you're able to retrieve play a big role in the chances of one egg eventually resulting in a live birth. Someone younger than 35 has a 70% chance of a live birth if they freeze nine or more mature eggs, and someone in their early 40s may need to freeze 28 or more eggs for that same 70% chance of a live birth.
First: What’s egg freezing again?
Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation if you’re using the medical terminology, is a fertility preservation technique in which eggs are extracted from the ovaries (a procedure called egg retrieval) and flash-frozen so they can be used after thawing for an assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure like in vitro fertilization (IVF) later in life. (If you're interested in freezing your eggs and want a deep dive into the process, we've got you covered right here.)
While freezing your eggs won't guarantee a future pregnancy, preserving the quality of your eggs (and the quantity of however many you're able to retrieve) during your younger years can give you more options later in life.
What are some reasons people might explore egg freezing?
While choosing to freeze your eggs is a very personal decision, there are some situations in which people may explore the procedure — if it's financially possible. Here are a few examples:
You're not ready for kids now and want more options in the future: Your age plays a major role in your fertility — but age doesn't necessarily dictate when (or if) you'll be emotionally or financially prepared to have kids. Elective egg freezing can be a way to take steps toward proactively planning for your future family at your own pace.
You have low anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH): Proactively freezing your eggs can give you more options in the future as AMH declines over time. Keep in mind that low AMH may mean you will retrieve and freeze fewer eggs and your fertility specialists may advise that you do multiple rounds of egg retrieval and freezing.
You have certain health conditions: Egg freezing could be a way to preserve your current fertility if you have cancer that requires chemotherapy or radiation (both of which could affect your fertility), you need to have surgery that could damage your ovaries, or you have a condition that could do the same. Egg freezing may also be an option for people with autoimmune disorders that affect fertility or chromosomal abnormalities that come with a risk of premature ovarian failure (e.g., Turner's Syndrome, fragile X syndrome).
You have a known family history of other fertility-impacting conditions: Learning you have a family history of early menopause or a genetic mutation (like BRCA, which can predispose one to developing breast and ovarian cancer) and deciding to remove your ovaries might also be reasons to talk to your doctor about whether or not you're a good candidate for egg freezing.
Now for the question of the hour: How much does egg freezing cost?
Freezing your eggs and then using them in the future, if you choose to, involves several steps — from doing the egg retrieval and flash-freezing now to thawing the eggs and fertilizing them with sperm for in vitro fertilization (IVF) later.
Here's how all the associated costs break down:
General procedure: The exact price of egg freezing varies depending on several factors, including your clinic and region, but the price range for the procedure alone is usually between $5,000 and $10,000 per cycle.
Fertility medication: When considering the costs of ovarian-stimulation injections and medications, the price of one egg freezing cycle goes up to around $10,000-$12,000.
Storage fees: The above procedure cost usually includes one year of storage for your eggs at a long-term or independent storage facility, which costs about $500-$1,000 annually (though sometimes the first year is free!).
Donor sperm: If you need donor sperm in order to turn your frozen eggs into embryos when you're ready to try to conceive, that can range from $300 to $4,000 depending on whether you’re using a non-directed (anonymous) or directed (known) donor anonymous or known donor (with directed donor sperm on the high end of the range).
Embryo creation: Thawing the eggs, undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and doing genetic testing of the embryos may run you $5,000-$8,000.
IVF after egg freezing: IVF treatments to use those embryos are closer to $11,000-$12,000.
What about the blood work and doctor consultations leading up to the egg freezing procedure? "Blood work and usually all consults are covered by insurance," explains Dr. Julie Lamb, MD, FACOG, a reproductive endocrinologist at Pacific Northwest Fertility and Modern Fertility medical advisor.
Since the costs can vary from person to person (and region to region), here are two real-world examples:
Denver-based marketing executive Kandace Proud said the retrieval itself was about $10,000 out of pocket (since insurance didn’t cover anything) and long-term storage costs $600 per year.
Kaye, who lives in New Jersey, spent $8,163 on her first egg freezing cycle (including injections, anesthesia, and retrieval). Beyond the retrieval, the ultrasound, baseline blood tests, and follow-up visit with her doctor cost $925. A second round of egg freezing was $5,150 because Kaye had hit her insurance deductible (which covered egg freezing).
What can impact how much egg freezing costs for you?
While we can list the average costs of egg freezing, those numbers don't take into account why the treatment may be more expensive for some people than others. Some of these factors may include:
Clinic: Your fertility clinic and region where you undergo the procedure affect the price of your treatments.
Age: Age plays a role in egg quantity and quality, so you may expect to get fewer viable eggs from retrieval the later you freeze your eggs. But everyone's different, and your doctor will help you understand how many rounds you can expect. More rounds of egg retrieval will mean more money.
AMH levels: Low AMH might mean more rounds of egg retrieval (plus more costs). While AMH doesn’t impact the ability to get pregnant today, it’s what clinics use to estimate fertility treatment outcomes.
Number of eggs retrieved: Technically, you really only need one viable frozen egg for an IVF treatment to be successful — but the more eggs you have to work with during ART, the better your chances of conceiving. Typically, it’s recommended to freeze 8-15 eggs to increase your chances of having a live birth, but the recommendation is higher if you’re older or if you have a lower number of eggs in your ovarian reserve. The more cycles needed to retrieve the “ideal” amount of eggs, the more money you’re spending on fertility treatments. (By the way, more eggs isn't always necessarily better — the probability of eventually having a live birth plateaus at about 15 eggs.)
Will health insurance cover egg freezing?
Right now, only 19 states require insurance companies to supply coverage for infertility treatments. And just because your health insurance plan offers some coverage, it may not cover everything you need (i.e., your diagnostic testing is covered, but the actual fertility treatment isn’t).
Regardless of current health insurance coverage, there are ways to get financial assistance for freezing your eggs:
Payment plans: Many fertility clinics offer payment plans to make the costs of egg freezing more manageable.
Talk to HR: More and more companies are including insurance coverage for fertility treatments in their employee health benefit plans, but many don't cover fertility preservation. If your employer-provided health insurance doesn’t cover egg freezing, you can reach out to HR with examples of companies that do cover the procedure, as well as to ask about loans or Health Savings Accounts (HSA).
Grants: Some available fertility treatment grants come from organizations like Baby Quest Foundation, the Cade Foundation, and the Hope for Fertility Foundation. Many grants also exist specifically for cancer patients who aim to preserve their eggs before cancer treatments. You can find more information about those grants at Livestrong Fertility, Team Maggie for a Cure, Verna’s Purse, the Alliance for Fertility Preservation, The Samfund, the Heart Beat Program, and Fertility Within Reach.
Personal loans or donations: Some people looking for financial assistance for egg freezing may also take out personal loans or collect donations from friends and family members. (Actor and "egg advocate" Kellée Stewart calls the latter idea "egg funds"!)
Is spending the money on freezing your eggs "worth" it?
You’re the only person who can decide whether or not the cost of egg freezing is "worth" it for you. Even when egg freezing is a financial possibility, which it isn't for many people, the process can be overwhelming physically and emotionally — especially since it doesn't guarantee any future outcomes.
When deciding whether or not to freeze your eggs, Modern Fertility's fertility nurse Jill Kerwin, RN, BSN says that considering how important having biological children is for your life plans is critical. If having biological children isn't the only path you're interested in taking, then egg donation or adoption are also great options. "Talking to a mental health provider with fertility experience may be helpful in decision-making," she adds.
For anyone who's trying to assess whether or not egg freezing is "worth" the financial costs, we're digging into some of the questions you may have below.
How many eggs can you expect to retrieve?
Because ovarian reserve changes with age, the expected number of eggs retrieved changes with age too. It’s important, though, to note that just like with many other aspects of health, there’s variation between people when it comes to the number of eggs you have as you age. While some people may experience steep declines in egg quantity, that decline may be much more gradual for others.
One 2017 study looked at 520 people (with presumed "average" ovarian reserve for their age) who had undergone egg retrieval and found that:
For ages 36 and under: About 14 mature eggs on average were retrieved.
For ages 37-39: About 10 mature eggs on average were retrieved.
For ages 40-42: About nine mature eggs on average were retrieved.
For ages 43 and above: About seven mature eggs on average were retrieved.
How many retrieved eggs is enough eggs? Freezing more eggs, either through one retrieval or through additional rounds, increases the chances of one retrieved egg eventually resulting in a live birth. While there's no "right" number for how many eggs are retrieved, the number that will more likely result in a live birth also has a lot to do with age:
Someone younger than 35 has a 70% chance of a live birth if they freeze nine or more mature eggs.
Does being a certain age make it more "worth it" to freeze eggs?
One 2015 study created decision-analysis models of egg freezing at different ages to figure out whether or not there was an "ideal" age for egg freezing as it relates to cost-effectiveness and increasing the probability of live births.
When comparing people who froze their eggs to those who didn't, here's what the study's authors found:
The greatest improvement in the probability of live birth was seen in 37-year-olds who tried to conceive seven years later (51.6% chance of a live birth in a 44-year-old who froze their eggs when they were 37, 21.9% in 44-year-olds who never froze their eggs and tried to conceive without treatment at 44).
The highest overall live birth rates were in people who froze their eggs before they were 34.
(The authors also made a handy-dandy tool so that you can actually see what these numbers could look like for you.)
The bottom line
If you're interested in freezing your eggs, it's important to know the possible costs so you can make the right decision for you. It's also key to remember that if you freeze your eggs now, you'll need to create embryos and do IVF later (which both have additional costs). So, while egg freezing might only have a ~$10,000 price tag at the moment, you can expect further expenses if you choose to use the eggs down the line.
That said, if you can financially support it yourself, have insurance coverage for fertility treatments, or can pursue opportunities for financial assistance, preserving the quality of your eggs at a younger age through egg freezing can give you more options later in life — though a future pregnancy won't be guaranteed.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you think egg freezing might be a good option for you.
This article was reviewed by Dr. Julie Lamb, MD, FACOG, a reproductive endocrinologist at Pacific Northwest Fertility and Modern Fertility medical advisor, and Jill Kerwin, RN, BSN, a certified fertility nurse at Modern Fertility.
If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.