I always thought that at my age, I would be married, have a house, a dog and a few kids. I have a house if you count my condo and the cutest shiba inu named Sassy. I have yet to find who I’m meant to be with and I always assumed he would be the father of my children. But dating is hard, especially in San Francisco, land of men plagued by the Peter Pan Syndrome.
In the age of dating apps, your new love interest is only a swipe away. Don’t feel sorry for me. I at least know there are plenty of men out there who would never work out for me. I also have a successful career and have never needed a man to support my lifestyle.
I didn’t think about freezing my eggs until my late 20s. At that time, it was still all talk given the cost. If I had known more about the process back then and the ways to finance a round of egg freezing, I wouldn’t have waited. I also think that if I went through this in my 20s, I wouldn’t have to do more than one round of egg freezing to secure the number of eggs statistically needed for the number of viable pregnancies (or kids) that I want.
Everyone has their own story, but let me share mine. My fertility journey may be similar or different to yours, but what I love about the process is discovering the strength of the community. As strange as it sounds, it has the power to bond two strangers almost immediately.
January 2017 – My first fertility consult
When a previous employer offered insurance coverage for the following year during open enrollment, I signed up. Unfortunately, we got acquired, but since I had coverage for at least a month, I saw a fertility doctor in January.
It was a scary experience walking into the medical office by myself. Part of me felt ashamed (though I now know there is no shame in seeking fertility treatment), and most of me felt terrified and alone. I saw other patients, mainly couples and it made me wonder why I have to go through this alone, which reminded me that yes, I am single and very much alone. Well, single might not be the right term to use. I was dating someone, but he wasn’t committed, which was why I saw this specialist to begin with.
I had no idea what a consultation entailed, but in case you’ve never had your egg follicles counted, it requires a vaginal ultrasound. They stick a probe up there to count how many egg follicles are in your ovaries. This gives them an idea of your ovarian reserve, or quantity and quality of eggs remaining in your ovaries.
When the results indicated that I had time, I felt good. But when I saw the pricing, I put this aside. Although I could have extended coverage beyond a month, I for some reason, decided not to extend coverage via COBRA since I was in between jobs at the time.
The doctor said I had some time, so thought about this on and off for the next two years.
February 2019 – Day 3 Test
My primary care physician knew that I’ve always wanted to freeze my eggs, so she ordered a Day 3 test. Taking your tests on the third day of your menstrual cycle is optimal for measurement of hormones. Results will help your doctor better understand your ovarian reserve. My results looked fine, but a few months later, I booked an appointment to see the same specialist I did two years ago.
July 2019 – My second fertility consult
It’s been a year and a half since my initial consultation and you would think I should feel better about the situation. But I didn’t. It might have been just the stress of thinking about pursuing treatment, but this particular facility was sterile to the point where it felt cold, which made me feel scared and alone.
The doctor gave me the same spiel. Full disclosure: Perhaps I felt uncomfortable there because I went in to see the best doctor who just so happens to be a man. I’ve always been more comfortable with female physicians. It’s just a preference, especially for vulnerable times like this.
The good news was that my egg follicle count went up by a good amount. So that made me happy! However, I saw more details with the pricing, and it was yet another excuse to postpone treatment. I had the money, but for some reason, I still wasn’t willing to pay thousands just yet.
September 2019 – Fertility preservation abroad
I heard on the news or a local TV show about women who went to Europe to freeze their eggs through a startup in San Francisco headed up by a woman who personally froze her embryos overseas. At first, I thought this was absurd, but once I learned more about the health care system there, I realized this might be a viable option. Even with the cost of travel and lodging, freezing my eggs during a two week trip to Europe would have been more affordable than seeking fertility treatment in the states. How ridiculous is that?
By the end of the year, I decided this was the option for me. Based on my needs and desired destinations, the woman paired me up with a clinic in Barcelona! I was pretty excited to travel to Spain in the Spring and finally get this treatment done. Knowing that I had upcoming travel plans, my parents even gifted me luggage as a Christmas present, though they weren’t fully aware what my travel intentions were just yet.
December 2019 – Modern Fertility test
I wanted to know my numbers. I know that I just took a Day 3 test earlier in the year, but I wanted to see what Modern Fertility was about and I scored a deal during Black Friday. The test costs about $160 versus upwards to $1,000 when you go through a lab through a doctor’s visit.
January 2020 – Modern Fertility results
Thankfully, my results came in normal. Although it meant that my ovarian reserves might be just fine, I was coming close to a big birthday and booked a consultation with the clinic in Spain.
February 2020 – Call with the clinic in Barcelona
The doctor from Barcelona skyped me to go over details of the treatment. Although I’m trying to work on my Spanish, let’s just say this is beyond conversational Spanish and I was glad she spoke English. She explained how to time the treatment with my flight as well as what the process would be like, which aligned with what I’ve heard before. I sent over my medical records from my two consults as well my Modern Fertility results. She said things looked good. I might have been scared, but I was super excited to finally go through the process. I didn’t book any reservations or make a deposit on anything, including treatment at the clinic. Thank goodness because we all know what happened in 2020.
March 2020 – The pandemic
With the COVID-19 on the rise, I was obviously hesitant to book a trip, especially to Spain. The clinic reached out offering a discount if I prepay for services to be done by 2020. Although it was a good deal, I just couldn’t commit to traveling to Spain during the pandemic.
June 2020 – Fertility assessment at Kindbody
As things slowly opened up, I reached out to Kindbody to determine if their services were deemed “necessary” to be open. The answer is an obvious yes. Fertility care is absolutely necessary!
I had blood work done and an ultrasound performed to establish my baseline. See my FAQs (LINK) for more information about the assessment and the process. The physician reviewed my records, which were the same ones I sent over to Barcelona, alongside my medical records sent over by my primary physician’s office. I was super happy with my egg follicle count, though later I learned that we counted even the small ones, which may have never reached maturity even with the help of hormones.
After the exam, the physician answered all of my questions and walked me through a pamphlet. Keep in mind that this is my FOURTH consultation by now! However, this particular 1:1 conversation I had with the physician finally gave me a strong understanding as to what the egg freezing process entails. The visuals in the pamphlet were super simple and easy to follow. Things looked good, and I didn’t want to delay. I didn’t want to give myself a reason to back out again.
Although I was swamped at work, I decided that I would go for a round of egg freezing in August, as July was too close in proximity to when my assessment took place at the end of June.
August 2020 – My first round of egg freezing
First off, you’re going to think I’m crazy for going through a round of fertility care when I tell you that during this time, I was working long hours to help my company go public. But in all honesty, work was a good distraction for me in terms of keeping my mind off of the treatment. I almost used work as an excuse to delay treatment again, but I put my foot down. I prioritized work so many times that given quarantine, the fact that we were working from home, and the fact that I was already working long hours, I decided NOW is the time.
I share quite a bit of my journey on Instagram. You can view my stories highlights here and IGTV episodes here. It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster, but it was a blessing to have so much support. More importantly, I was pleasantly surprised that so many people I know (or recently met) have either gone through or are interested in the egg freezing or IVF process.
As you can see in this episode here, I was a wreck the night before my medication arrived. Although I had so much support from Kindbody, I still didn’t like the idea of doing this alone, or administering the shots on myself.
I remember the anxiety I felt when I shared my first Instagram post about freezing my eggs. I could literally hear and feel my heart beating. Although I share quite a bit, but not all, of my life, I have never shared something so personal. The last thing I needed was for people to judge or feel sorry for me. But I knew I had to share my story. I had a platform and I wanted to use it for something good. I wanted to use my platform for something bigger than promoting the latest workout I did or a cute new spandex set. I wanted to share my story in the hopes of convincing at least one woman to get a fertility assessment so that she is empowered to make the right choices for herself and her family. And my fear of the “stigma” associated with fertility health wasn’t enough to prevent me from sharing. This was a way for me to stop the stigma. I wanted conversations to happen. I wanted to destigmatize egg freezing or IVF and I knew I could do that.
What I didn’t expect, however, was all of the love and support. I received countless messages from women who have gone through the process or were thinking about it. I even got plenty of praise from some men. Truth be told, I did hesitate sharing my story because what if someone from the dating apps saw? Would they freak out? Would they not like my choice? But then I realized the man I end up with would be so grateful that I was smart enough to freeze my eggs just in case we do end up needing them in the future.
To those who followed along, THANK YOU for the support as it inspired me to create so much content! It’s truly rewarding to know that I can make a positive impact on someone’s life. I shared as much as possible because if I could do this, then I know that most women can. And if you are scared, please reach out and I’ll be happy to talk you through the process or answer any questions you might have. Send me a direct message @petiteandtoned or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I know I’m busy, but this is important to me.
You can read more about the egg freezing process in my FAQs here (LINK).
I recently went through a second round of egg freezing with Kindbody and my body responded much better to the medication! I can’t wait to share more with you soon! If you’re thinking about getting a fertility assessment at Kindbody, use my code “PETITEANDTONED” for $100 off! You can book an appointment here. Rest assured that I will never know you used my code unless you tell me, nor do I get any kickbacks.