There are a lot of reasons not to freeze your eggs. It involves shooting yourself up with loads of hormones. Your chances of success are greatest if you freeze your eggs young, but it costs between $8,000 and $18,000, according to the New York Times, which many women in their late 20s and early 30s don't have lying around. That's very expensive insurance for a backup plan you may not need -- after all, you don't know how fertile you will or won't be until you start trying. And if you do end up needing to use those eggs, they may not lead to a pregnancy. According to CNN, if you freeze your eggs between ages 32 and 35, you have a 40 to 50 percent chance of a successful pregnancy.
How would the equation change if your parents were willing to foot part or all of the bill for the procedure? The Times reported Sunday that physicians are seeing an increase in the number of women whose parents are covering part or all of the cost of freezing their eggs in the hopes of grandchildren down the road.
One physician interviewed, Dr. Daniel Shapiro, said he thought parents paid at least a portion of the bill for 75 percent of his egg-freezing patients. One woman told the Times that the price tag "didn’t feel like as scary" when her parents were covering most of it.
But adult daughters aren't always welcoming of generosity in this area of their lives, the Times noted. When it comes to fertility, parental largesse can convey a certain amount of parental insistence. Offering to pay for a procedure that could extend your baby-making years is about the biggest hint parents can give that it would make them so, so happy if you would just get a little pregnant. Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, author of “In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment and Motherhood," told the paper, “There is a very fine line between concern and pressure.”
While one woman interviewed, Gloria Hayes of Darien, Conn., acknowledged the possibility that broaching the subject with her daughter would suggest criticism, even a daughter who approaches her parents can feel judged when they say yes. Brigitte Adams, 39, told the Times that when she brought up the subject with her parents, her father's immediately positive response felt loaded.“It was a little degree of shock ... This is actually real if they’re pushing me towards this.”
The Daily Beast mentioned this trend toward parents covering their daughters' egg freezing in a January report on the success of vitrification, a new egg-freezing process that doesn't involve ice crystals, which can damage the eggs. The procedure costs a reported $15,000 per cycle, and according to the Beast, patients are "often sent by their parents: I know you want to work, but I want grandkids someday."
This parental support of egg freezing comes at a time when we still aren't sure how popular or successful the procedure is. According to the Times, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, a professional group, has started tracking how many women freeze their eggs, but the data isn't available yet. And no one tracks the number of babies born from frozen eggs.
Egg freezing also isn't the only method available to women looking to preemptively prolong their fertility. They can also opt to freeze parts of their ovarian tissue, a procedure that has been shown to be more effective, as well as more expensive, than egg freezing or IVF, the Telegraph reported in April.