Egg Freezing 101
Originally posted on 09 April 2023
I froze my eggs for 2 reasons: it alleviates some stress in me and I want to add this as a perk in the company. I have to experience it first before I can roll this out.
2 week process to grow the eggs, daily injections
30min surgical process to remove the eggs
1 week for the body to recover, daily vitamin pills
Emotions: more exhausted, more emotional
Cost: Thailand ~S$7K, Malaysia ~S$5K. It is also quite cheap in UK, apparently.
Best age to do this: 27-30 years old
Everyone should do this if they can. I can’t see a downside.
I froze 15 eggs. Oocytes, to be exact.
I wanted to freeze my eggs back when “egg freezing” was a case study during my uni days. I told myself I wanted to do this when the time is right, and when I have my own company, the company will roll this out as a perk. Fast forward, here I am, turning this idea into reality.
Note: the best decade is 25 to 35 years old. The best period is around 28, 29 years old. That is where you still have plenty of eggs, and your body is mature enough to have healthy eggs. Too young and your body is not ready. Too old and you don’t have enough eggs left.
I took 1 entire year to research, interviewed clinics, went “doctor shopping” and spoke to so many people who did this. It’s more common in US and London, and surprisingly China too. More on the IVF than egg freezing in China though.
My mum kept telling me to freeze my eggs once I came back from the US, and my other friends were bugging me to freeze my eggs too, but they were afraid of being intrusive. All good, it took me 1 year before I finally did it.
I needed to do my research first. It seems like a no brainer, but I wanted to have proper research before doing something rash. So, I started with a full body check up to know the state of my health, before I even begin about thinking freezing my babies. Once the test cleared, I started my research journey. I will document them in FAQ form, because this was information I wished I found earlier.
Does freezing eggs mean I have less eggs in the future for natural birth?
No. Zero impact at all. You are just freezing this period cycle’s egg count. That is it. No impact on remaining eggs.
I learnt a lot about this. Girls are born with an amount of eggs. Every period cycle, some eggs are gone. You hit menopause when the eggs are finished. There is no way to increase the eggs. And the best predictor of how many eggs you have is when the mother, grandmother and aunts of the female had menopause. The number of eggs is hereditary.
Each period cycle, a few eggs are set to mature. If it gets fertilised, it becomes a baby. In each cycle, depending on the age, it can be 40 eggs or 10 eggs. The older, the less eggs each cycle.
During the egg freezing period cycle, you mature all the eggs of the cycle. That means, these eggs will be period blood anyway, so maturing them has zero impact to the remaining amount of eggs left.
When does the process begin?
The first day of the period cycle. The second day is for blood test, doctor check up, first injection.
Why didn’t I do this in Singapore?
I did research in 2022 and it was still illegal. In 2023, it is legal, but the ownership of the eggs belong to my future husband. That means, I can freeze my eggs as a single period, but only my husband can request to unfreeze my eggs. There is no way in hell I am giving the rights of access of my eggs to another person. My eggs, my decisions.
So I did it abroad then. Abroad, I have full ownership and custody of my frozen eggs.
How does birth control pills impact this?
Zero impact. In fact, I suggest using birth control pills because the only variable to this process is the first day of period cycle. And birth control pills add in that predictive date. Helps when someone has an unpredictable schedule.
What is a good number of eggs being frozen?
Depends on how many kids. It is a linear curve, number of frozen eggs (y-axis) against number of possible kids (x-axis).
10 eggs for 1st baby. 15-18 eggs for 2. 18-20 eggs for 3.
What if I have PCOS?
That is fine. PCOS suggests you have more eggs than normal, so you have more eggs to choose from, for freezing.
How do I prepare to start this process?
Start with a full body check up. Understand if this is a feasible option. This means body check up and blood test to understand AMH. Body test to make sure everything in the body is in the right order. No potential diseases, no weird issues, just healthy happy body and health. AMH is to understand the amount of eggs there are in the body. Better to hit the high range.
Knowing everything is normal and in order, I can continue with researching. I didn’t want to be so fixed on freezing my eggs because I didn’t know if my body was healthy enough for it. I don’t want to be disappointed. But all was good, so I am lucky.
Once my tests said I am fit and healthy, I started telling everyone about it and get introduction to people who have done this before. Spoke to them, read reddit posts, read articles online. I wanted to know what to expect.
Interview doctors and clinics
I have a list of interview questions for the clinics. I will add them below. I took a trip to Thailand, to go doctor shopping. I googled IVF and went to the clinics one by one, interviewing the nurses. I did similar for the hospitals in Malaysia via email, but face to face queries are better.
How to measure success?
the number of eggs available for freezing
the number of eggs frozen
How would I have done this differently next time?
Get my partner to understand this process so he is there — physically, mentally, emotionally.
Why did I take 1 year before doing it?
I was stressed as hell before. I didn’t want to do this process when I am stressed. I want the frozen eggs to be as least stressed as it possibly can.
I was flying around a lot. It was hard to find 2 weeks where I am not going anywhere.
What was the 2 week injection process like?
I don’t like needles and being poked. I was not going to do it on my own. And I went to the clinic every day to be poked.
I always went around the same time, lunch time where I had some time off.
Daily injections, and 1 blood test every 4 days to see if the eggs were responding and growing towards the correct size.
Each 4 days check up, the doctor counted the number of eggs and measured them. It was documented, and then we know what is the right date to undergo the surgery.
In the last ~5 days I think, it was 2 injections. 1 for hormones (as usual), 1 to stop ovulating.
2 days before the surgery, I had a trigger shot to trigger the egg collection. It is a mixture of 3 items, and the injection hurt a little.
1 day before the surgery, there was no injection. Just waiting for the surgery period.
10 hours before the surgery, no food, no water. Nothing in the body.
What was the egg surgery like?
Went to the clinic and wore the surgical gown.
They gave me IV or something. Basically poked something on my arm and allowed the liquid to drip for an hour.
Peed before the operating theatre.
Then went into the operating theatre and I lay on the bed thing. The GA told me to sleep.
The next moment, I woke up in bed and it was all fine. It took 30min.
Nurse told me to sleep more. So I slept for 2 hours.
Then I was fine and went about my day as usual.
But I felt super tired, and spent the rest of the day sleeping. The nurse said it was normal because 15 eggs was quite a lot and my body naturally feels tired.
What is the 1 week recovery process like?
I had a bunch of medicine/vitamin to take, to allow the body to recover faster.
The doctor gave me an additional medicine because there was more eggs than expected.
I had a total of 5 medicine to take every day, some were twice a day, some were three times a day.
They were all to help my body to recover from this process.
It was weird because I felt like I was really carrying babies. I was thinking about being a mother, being responsible for little lives and just being mature and motherly.
Maybe it was the personal state I was in, but I was thinking a lot about time. And watching a lot of movies about people running out of time, and crying because I am scared I am not a present mother, where I am present for my babies.
My head was super clear. I felt like the playful Lisa went away, and the mature motherly Lisa appeared, with a very clear idea of what she wants, and who she needs to be. I knew exactly what I want in my personal life and what kind of mother I want to be. This is really weird.
When I caught myself wondering, it is always about me being a mother, me having a family, me having children.
I felt like I really want to have kids. And I felt ready for it.
It is 100% related to the daily hormones injection. I just have a glimpse of what being a mother is like emotionally, and all I can say is being a mother is fucking hard. Being a woman is really hard. More below.
I was surprised after the process, because from what I read on blogs, some women felt like they lost a baby after the surgery. Like your body was expecting a baby, but suddenly it was gone. I didn’t feel that. I felt totally normal.
Do everything as normal. Last 5 days before surgery, no alcohol.
Sex is fine. Might be too bloated towards the last 4 days before surgery.
First 7 days are ok. After that, you might feel bloated and it might be uncomfortable to work out.
Also, boobs hurt. A lot. Can’t run. Too painful.
I know it is bloated, but I felt so fat.
Boobs was upsized.
Doctor said it is normal because there were 15 mature eggs, 3 soon-to-be-mature and 3-5 more that is tiny. The womb is very bloated, and it pushes all the other body organs up and squeezed into a tiny space.
Emotional Support (good to have)
I told many of my friends about it. Every other day, someone checks in on me. I’m grateful.
My mum was there and available.
I didn’t like needles and during blood tests, I just called up random friends and spoke to them while doing the blood test
I’d suggest creating a resource list and sharing it with one’s partner so he knows how to be there
That can look like being there physically
Daily check in and kind caring words
Cuddles, hugs, listening to your rambles about whatever
My journey was not too bad. I thought I caught it at a less stressful period of work, but it ended up being a stressful period at work because we are doing housekeeping of our operations, processes and tech. But as mentioned, the hormones helped me to “grow up” in a way, and I could see what was going on and choose to let some stress go.
By the end of this journey, I felt light as a feather. This has been on my mind for at least 12 months, and it is a big task off my to do list. I felt really light after! I was smiling and feeling so relaxed. To be fair, I was worried about feeling like it was a miscarriage so I was worried during the whole process. All was good!
The journey itself was fine. I was definitely more emotional than normal, and I was very tired. I already work >12h of non-stop meetings every day and the daily injection + more energy to grow the eggs did not help. I was also very emotional, mainly worried that I will be a bad mother. And I was crying a lot because I am worried I am a bad mother who is not present and don’t have time to spend with my children. Again, these hormones are really powerful. I am not like that in normal periods.
Also random, but one of the places I stayed gave me a teddy bear to hug. I 100% recommend that because I was hugging the teddy bear every single night. I don’t know why because I am not a soft toy person. But I just wanted to hug the bear every night.
My body was also so tired. Again, work took up a lot of time. And my body was very exhausted all the time. I found myself sleeping a lot and it was necessary, especially after the surgery. I just spent the whole day sleeping and recovering. Tried to work, but my head was just shutting down.
The injection was alright. I don’t like it, but it was necessary evil. The nurse was super helpful too. She was so sweet and I like that she always lights up when she sees me. I’m grateful for a nice and helpful nurse!
I chose SAFE Fertility Clinic in Bangkok.
Why I chose them? Because I had so many interview questions and they were the only one that took time to reply every single one. I appreciate that. Cost me 169,420 THB in total. And every subsequent year, I need to pay some money to keep freezing the eggs.
My mum and dad were with me. And I’m grateful that they spent time like that. My friends were checking in all the time. At work, 1 person knew and everything else went as per normal. I’m surprised everything all went so well, to be honest! I’m grateful.
Lessons Learnt: Appreciation for Women
Being a woman is so hard.
That is my main takeaway. Mother or not, I am deeply appreciative of being a woman. The amount of emotional strength to continue my day with the additional hormones, the independence of doing this alone, the god-damn biological stress of me worrying about motherhood, and the investment in terms of emotional investment into the eggs (not even fertilised, FFS!) because they could be my babies some day. It is hard. It is so hard.
And the process itself. Daily injections, so many blood tests, constant poking of the needle. All for that 30 min surgery. And it took 2 weeks of prep and 1 week of recover. 3 weeks of emotions for 30min of procedure. FFS, I have better ROIs hiring people in 3 weeks than this.
But at the end of it all, I am so proud of me. I am so proud of all mothers. I am so proud of all women. It is really hard. No one prepares you for the biological emotional process of motherhood.
I am a very rational person, and if the baby has issues, I am going to abort the baby because I am not bringing life to earth to suffer. But during this period, I caught myself wondering if this is not a normal baby, would I abort, and I was really on the fence. This is huge because I am a rational person and the answer is no, but when there was hormones in me, it was really hard to come to the conclusion. I felt a huge sense of love, emotional connection and protection for EGGS that is not even fertilised. I can’t imagine what a woman goes through when she has to abort a baby. It must be so hard.
Also, I felt so ready to love whatever that is in my body. I was so prepared to move my ego aside and put the eggs and their lives into my top most priority. And since I have 2 running companies, and they are priority, this is just a weird thought.
This entire journey just made me appreciate being a woman so much more. Firstly, it fucking sucks. I have to go through all of this and all a guy needs to do is jerk off. Secondly, the emotional journey is hard and unless you go through it yourself, I don’t think anyone can understand this. Lastly, to balance that and my professional life is just a strange thing. That is a reason why I am freezing my eggs too, because I want the extra time to focus on my companies. I also know when I am ready, the next journey after growing companies is to grow babies into great people.
I am grateful that my friends don’t mind my complaints. I was telling them how hard it is to be a women through all the emotions and emotional heavy lifting I have to do. The guys and girls all agreed.
Still, if there is a next life and I can choose, I’d still be a woman and go through this. Irrational, but I’m really proud of my growth and journey. As they say in behavioural economics, we overvalue the output when we invest our own time and effort in it. And god, so I invest a huge amount of my time and effort into this journey.
I’m glad this is over and I’m done with it. I am almost tempted to do an AB test if another clinic is better. But I really don’t want to go through this again.
Women. What wondrous creatures.
Interview Questions for the Clinic
What kind of counseling do you provide?
How much of the injection will affect my hormones and emotions?
What is the average eggs per month you freeze?
Where did the doctor get their degrees — foreign or local?
what is your availability like?
What vitamin can I eat from now till the egg extraction to maintain a healthy egg extraction?
How does birth control pills affect this process?
What is the overall process like?
How many eggs can I extract? What is the average statistic based on your clients?
What is the measure of success for egg freezing?
How many patients have you helped to freeze their eggs?
How many successful eggs have you unfrozen? (as a percentage)
What is the duration of the egg freezing period that is included in the package?
What is the legality policy of death?
What is the legality policy like for unfreezing the wrong eggs for the patients? Who holds the responsibility if the wrong eggs are used?
What are the policies like for donating eggs?
Where to do research
I used reddit a lot. It was okay, not the best resource
Mummy blogs — egg freezing journey blogs and read their entries
Told my friends about it and they connect me with friends they know who went through this process
Doctor shopping — google IVF and just speak to the nurses there