Research shows that female fertility starts to decline around age 30, and that decline accelerates around age 35. Egg-freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a fertility strategy that allows people to preserve high-quality and younger eggs to pursue childrearing later in life.
Unfortunately, the entire process, which includes extracting, freezing, and storing the eggs, doesn’t come cheap. According to Dr. Shahin Ghadir, a board-certified fertility specialist and founding partner of Southern California Reproductive Center, “Generally, egg freezing in the U.S. varies from $7,000 – $10,000. These prices do not include medication, which is generally chosen per the specific protocol needed for the individual.”
Below we’ll go over what procedural and personal factors, including locale and age, impact the cost of each egg-freezing cycle and the number of cycles a patient undergoes.
- A single cycle of egg freezing can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000. Costs may go up depending on the number of cycles needed and, later, embryo creation and implantation fees.
- Egg freezing involves fertility testing, medical consultations, hormone injections, health monitoring, egg retrieval, incubation, freezing, and storage.
- 20 states have passed fertility insurance coverage laws, including 14 that mandate in vitro fertilization coverage under certain conditions.
The Average Cost of Freezing Eggs
Egg freezing can be a long and arduous process. There are costs associated with every step, including initial tests, injections, medications for stimulation, physician’s visits, egg harvesting, annual storage fees, and the eventual implantation.
According to data collected by FertilityIQ, a single cycle of egg freezing can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000. Where you live can impact where your costs fall within that range. FertilityIQ found that the average cost of one cycle in New York City was $17,773, nearly $2,000 more than the national average of $15,991. Conversely, the average just 200 miles away in Boston was $13,800.
The number of cycles a patient chooses to undergo will also affect the total cost. Half of all patients in FertilityIQ’s data set elected to do one cycle, but it’s not uncommon to do more; 26% of patients chose to undergo three or more freezing cycles. Since younger patients tend to retrieve more eggs per cycle and have a higher success rate than older patients, age can be a meaningful factor when deciding how many cycles to undergo.
The cost of freezing eggs will vary depending on your location, the clinic, and your medical insurance coverage. So, you should ask for a comprehensive cost estimate from your clinic to ensure you are fully prepared for the long-term financial commitment.
Breakdown of Egg Freezing Costs
Given an average cost of $15,000 to $20,000 a cycle and that the average patient undergoes 2 cycles—though the majority of patients do one—an average egg-freezing patient may spend $30,000 to $40,000 on treatment and storage.
The critical steps of each cycle and their costs, according to FertilityIQ, are:
|Treatment (includes monitoring, egg retrieval, anesthesia)||$11,000|
|Medication (this will vary depending on the patient)||$5,000|
|Storage (presumably five years)||$2,000|
The costs outlined above will vary between clinics and patients. Dr. Ghadir of Southern California Reproductive Center estimated medication costs range from $3,000 to $6,000 and storage costs from $300 to $1,000 a year. Whereas Dr. Iris Insogna of Columbia University Fertility Center estimates medications can cost between $2,000 and $5,000, and that the entire process averages about $8,600 at their facility. Vitaliya Dovirak, Director of Finance at RMA Long Island IVF, estimates that the cost of an egg-freezing cycle at their location is $9,200, excluding the cost of medication and anesthesia.
Another hidden expense to be aware of is the cost to ship stored eggs. By the time some patients are ready to have kids, they no longer live where their eggs are stored. So, they have the choice to fly to the eggs or have the eggs flown to them, which can be very costly and comes with a risk of damaging the eggs.
What About Frozen Embryos?
For prospective parents concerned about single-gene disorders or the embryo having greater or fewer than 23 chromosomes, a drawback of egg freezing is that genetic testing performed on unfertilized eggs is not predictive of the genetic makeup of the embryos they will become when fertilized. If possible, fertilizing the eggs through in vitro fertilization (IVF) avoids this problem. IVF is, however, an expensive procedure.
Dr. Shahin and Dovirak agree that egg freezing is less expensive. Dr. Shahin estimates embryo freezing is two to three times the price of egg freezing. At the Pacific Fertility Center of Los Angeles egg freezing costs around $7,000 for a single cycle, $12,000 for two cycles, and $17,000 for three cycles, while embryo freezing is $9,000 for one cycle, $16,500 for two cycles, and $22,000 for three cycles. Embryo freezing also involves several steps not included in these prices, like preimplantation genetic screening and embryo transfer.
It is common practice for clinics to discount second and third freezing cycles.
Does Health Insurance Cover Egg Freezing?
There are two types of egg freezing: elective and medically indicated. Elective egg freezing is when a patient freezes their eggs to have the choice to have a baby later in life. Freezing is not a medical necessity, but a personal decision.
Medically indicated egg freezing occurs when a person undergoes a necessary treatment that could limit their fertility later. In such cases as cancers or pre-chemotherapy, physicians may recommend that their patient freeze their eggs before undergoing any procedures that could make them infertile or harm their eggs.
In the U.S., health insurance plans rarely cover elective freezing, but some cover medically indicated freezing. As of 2022, 20 states have passed fertility insurance coverage laws, 14 of which include IVF coverage. Also, 12 states have fertility preservation laws for iatrogenic (medically induced) infertility.
Take a close look at your plan’s coverage details or talk with a benefits administrator to learn what your plan will cover.
How To Pay for Egg Freezing
Common ways to pay for egg freezing include:
- Personal or fertility loans
- Employer fertility benefits: Many companies—especially large employers with 20,000 or more employees—are adding fertility benefits to their employer-sponsored health coverage to attract and retain employees.
- Savings: Many individuals and couples plan for freezing by saving up. Take advantage of a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) funded with pre-tax dollars. You can also take from it tax-free, so long as withdrawals are spent on qualified medical expenses.
- Payment plans: Some fertility clinics offer low-cost payment plans. They may also offer discounts, coupons, and lower rates during certain times of the year.
- Grants: Many organizations offer financial assistance to low-income households or aspiring parents from specific demographic groups. Each competitive grant requires an application process, and funds may only cover certain parts of the process.
The Bottom Line
A person might choose to freeze their eggs for a variety of reasons. Whether you haven’t found the right partner yet, or if you’re battling a chronic illness, experiencing infertility, or in a same-sex relationship, egg freezing gives you the choice to grow your family whenever you’re ready.
But the process can be expensive, so be sure to research different clinics’ costs and look into how insurance, employer benefits, and grants can help. And keep in mind the logistics and costs of storage and implantation many years later.