Program Director, New York University (NYU) Langone Fertility Center
On average, egg freezing patients will spend $30,000 - $40,000 on treatment and storage. This consists of two major drivers: the $15,000 to $20,000 cost per cycle and the number of cycles (on average 2.1) each woman undergoes.
On a per-cycle basis, the critical line items include the cost of medical treatment, the cost of medication, and the cost to store your frozen eggs. Each vary by clinic and patient.
We’ve come to notice meaningful regional differences and, when we account for these, our city-by-city breakdown looks like the following:
On average, women elect to do more than two egg freezing cycles and best we can tell older women are far more likely to do multiple cycles.
Given the costs and inconvenience of egg freezing, why would women consider doing multiple cycles? The data strongly suggests, as this Spanish clinic observed (and others have corroborated) that the more eggs a woman freezes, the higher the likelihood that those eggs could lead to a live birth.
Women who froze their eggs at an older age will likely require more eggs be stored than younger women to have the same odds those eggs will work, by nearly a factor of two, and the older woman will likely retrieve fewer eggs per cycle.
The total costs of egg freezing varies dramatically based on the profile of women undergoing treatment. Let’s follow a few different scenarios based on different ages women chose to freeze.
Suppose a 25-year-old, 30-year-old, and 38-year-old woman decide to freeze their eggs. To keep our lives simple, let’s presume each cycle costs $15,000 for treatment and medication.
Let’s assume the 25 and 30-year-old each retrieve 15 eggs on their first retrieval, consult the data from the Spanish study and decide to stop after that retrieval.
Let’s assume the 38-year-old retrieves 6 to 8 eggs on her first retrieval, consults the data from the Spanish study, is not satisfied and does two more cycles to reach a number of eggs she’s happier with, say 20 eggs. Below are the costs they’ve accrued to this point.
Patients pay annual fees to keep their eggs frozen. The total spent is a function of how long they stored their eggs, in what type of facility, and in which city. Here is a breakdown of how these costs can add up if the eggs are stored onsite at a clinic.
Let’s presume these women store their eggs in NYC until their 40th birthday. Below is an updated tally for how much they will have spent by this point.
Today, 10 - 15% of women who have frozen their eggs have returned back to use them. If a woman decides to return to use her eggs and they successfully thaw, she will incur a one-time cost of $1,500 - $3,000 to fertilize her eggs with ICSI (required), a one-time cost of roughly $3,000 to grow her embryos (required), a one-time cost of $5,000 to have her embryos genetically tested (optional), and a per-transfer cost of $3,000 to have embryos transferred (required).
The chart below gives you a sense for how these costs can range. For a woman doing a single transfer with no genetic testing, she’ll pay $7,500. For a woman who does genetic testing and needs three transfers, the costs could be closer to $20,000.
For simplicity sake, let’s presume each woman spends about $10,000 to have her eggs warmed, fertilized, her embryos grown, and then transferred. Below is how the total costs of freezing eggs, and using them, now looks, for each woman.
Three Additional Points:
The costs of doing a transfer only apply to women who will use their eggs. For some women, there is a high likelihood they will return to have a transfer. For other women, the odds are more remote. Today, only about 10 - 15% of egg freezers have returned to use their eggs, but we may realize this number is a “floor” rather the actual percentage who return.
If you ultimately do decide to do IVF, you will likely wish you froze your eggs. Let’s take the example of our 30-year-old egg freezer. Let’s presume she froze 15 eggs and according to our charts has a 50% or better chance of these eggs leading to a live birth. As we saw, this cost her $35,000 in total. Now, let’s presume she did not freeze her eggs, returns back for IVF at age 40, and according to SART at that age, each cycle will have a 10 - 20% chance of delivering a live birth. She’ll need to undergo probably 3 - 5 cycles to equate to the 50% chance offered by using her 30-year-old eggs. IVF typically costs over $20,000 per cycle (depending upon where you live) and so in this case, egg freezing was a wise financial option. It allowed this woman to spend $35,000 to have the same odds of success through IVF as a woman who will have spent $60,000 - $100,000.
One final cost to consider is how you could have invested your time and money had you not frozen eggs. Economists refer to this as the “opportunity cost” that comes with every purchase. Let’s presume you took the, say, $30,000 you would have invested in egg freezing, put it in the stock market and held those stocks for as long as you paid for your eggs to be stored, let’s say 10 years. Today that may have equated to a doubling of your money and that $60,000 could practically pay for a year of graduate school, a car, or possibly a down-payment on a home. So we need to consider not just the cost of doing eggs freezing, but the costs of not using that money for other purposes.