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This article first appeared on Your Tango and has been republished with permission.
Communicating with your partner about how and when to get pregnant — whether you're currently trying or you're proactively considering options like freezing your eggs or embryos — can be intimidating no matter how solid your relationship is.
But making sure you do so (and knowing specifically which things to talk about) is more important for your relationship than you may think, especially if having a baby is important to you and your future.
While the idea of freezing eggs before you're ready to conceive can seem daunting, if you wish to one day have a baby with the person you love, this journey is one you and your partner can begin taking on together now, so you have the flexibility to grow your family when you’re ready.
According to board certified reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Jaime Knopman of CCRM Fertility in New York, a global pioneer in fertility advancement, research and treatment, “The egg freezing process can really impact the relationship of couples."
Freezing your eggs can be emotional, physically challenging, and costly. That’s why it’s important to make sure your romantic partner is ready and willing to offer you the kind of support you need.
Having this conversation can be tough, but if you’re prepared, it can go a lot more smoothly.
Here are 7 things to keep in mind to help put yourself at ease when talking to your partner about egg freezing and selecting a fertility clinic.
1. Explain why you want to freeze your eggs
Communicating with your partner about why you want to freeze your eggs in the first place is a great start. This will allow you to voice your concerns and let them see things from your perspective.
Women freeze their eggs for all sorts of reasons and it’s important to make sure to express yours.
For example, by the time a woman reaches her late 30s, about half of her eggs will be chromosomally abnormal, which often leads to difficulty conceiving or miscarriage. If you're in your 20s or 30s and not ready to have a baby, freezing your eggs now when they are at their healthiest can save you potential heartbreak and physical trauma down the road.
Whether you want to wait until you’re more financially secure, have hit your career goals or are more emotionally prepared for motherhood, let your partner know. Honestly, the reason you wish to freeze your eggs shouldn’t matter, as long as you discuss it with your partner and you’re both on the same page.
When asked how romantic partners can best approach this conversation, Dr. Knopman says, “The best relationship advice for discussing egg freezing is to be honest!”
2. Ask for the emotional support you need
Dr. Knopman told YourTango that she sees lots of women who feel shame about egg freezing and fertility treatments.
It’s common to feel negative emotions like shame, anger, and fear when considering this option, however, you don’t have to deal with those negative emotions alone or hide them from your partner or spouse. Be open and honest about your emotional needs and discuss them with your partner before moving forward with the egg freezing process.
If you think you’ll need a shoulder to cry on, extra kind words, or the ability to be completely vulnerable, let your partner know. Ask for them to be there for you emotionally throughout the entire process.
This way they know what to expect, and you know that you don’t have to hide any negative emotions or hold anything back. It can give you peace of mind going into the process.
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3. Ask for the physical support you’ll need
Egg freezing can take a temporary toll on the body. From injections to the egg retrieval procedure, you may experience some physical and emotional side effects.
While not all women react the same, some common side effects include feeling bloated and fatigued, which may put a temporary wrench in your otherwise productive lifestyle.
It’s important to also note that you’ll need someone to drive you home the day of the egg retrieval as you’ll have undergone sedation or anesthesia.
Talk to your partner about these physical side effects and needs and to let them know how they can support you best.
This might involve your partner taking on more of the housework while you go through the process or being in charge of shopping and cooking dinner. You may want to discuss what your sex life will look like throughout the process and if you’d like your partner to accompany you to appointments or help you with your injections.
4. Talk about how you’ll pay for the procedure
How much does it cost to freeze your eggs? Well, it can get pretty pricey. The average egg freezing cycle costs between $15,000-$20,000, which includes medications and storage.
As it’s always important to discuss finances in a relationship, it’s helpful to communicate how you’ll pay for the procedure.
If you’re married, and your finances are intertwined, this is an especially important conversation. Can you afford it? Will you need to take out a loan? Who will pay the majority of the bill?
Make sure to discuss how the cost of egg freezing is going to affect not only your finances but your life in general. Will someone need to get a second job? Ask for a raise at work? Will you need to be on a strict budget? You can also check to see if your fertility clinic offers any resources or options for financing.
5. Discuss and consider joining a support group
Even though you have the support of your partner, it could be helpful to join a group of people who are also going through egg freezing or other fertility treatments. You can look online for support groups or ask your fertility clinic to see if they can recommend one.
There may be virtual support groups you can join online too. Talking to someone else who is going through the egg freezing process, or someone who went through it in the past, can be powerful.
6. Ask for support finding the right doctor
Communicating with your partner about egg freezing may involve asking for help in finding the right doctor. Where you go really matters, so make sure to choose a clinic that is right for you and your partner. Making this big decision on your own can feel intimidating, which is why it can be helpful to get your partner involved.
Plus, if you end up deciding to have a baby with your current partner, your partner would also become a patient when you both come back for IVF, the medical procedure during which the egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body.
Arming yourself, and your partner, with some knowledge of what to look for in a fertility clinic can make the process a lot smoother too.
Make sure to look at the success rates and thaw data of the clinic you’re considering. The clinic’s ability to help you get pregnant when you’re ready to thaw the eggs and create embryos is the most important aspect to look for. Also, you’ll want to make sure that the clinic is performing all services under one roof.
This helps ensure quality control, faster test results, and consistency in services. Fertility clinics, like CCRM, conduct all of their services in-house meaning you don’t have to go elsewhere to pursue any part of the treatment/service.
This ensures the safety of you as the patient and your eggs and embryos and leads to the best results. It’s not uncommon for a fertility clinic to outsource testing to a third party, so patients should ask if all services are done in-house and if not, should feel confident looking elsewhere for treatment.
Not all fertility clinics are created equal, so it’s really important to do your research and to ask the right questions. In addition to understanding whether or not its services are outsourced, it is important to ask if the fertility clinic is a member of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Medicine, also known as SART.
Clinics that are members of SART are held to high standards. Fertility clinics that aren’t SART members don’t have that same level of accountability and they don’t have to adhere to the same standards.
7. Consider embryo freezing
Embryo freezing is another great way to preserve your fertility, especially for the couple that’s married and hopes to grow their family in the future, but not quite ready now.
During embryo freezing, the eggs are fertilized using IVF before they’re frozen, and develop, over a period of several days, into embryos, which are then frozen.
With embryo freezing, you’re using both the health of the young egg, in addition to sperm. For more information on embryo freezing, you can always find additional info and the stories of others online.
Freezing eggs (or embryos) is a big decision that you don’t have to make alone.
Involve your partner, be transparent and honest with them, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. The egg freezing journey shouldn’t tear your relationship apart. Instead, it should make it stronger.
Like Dr. Knopman said, “Egg freezing is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s just the opposite. If your partner is not supportive of your decision, it doesn’t sound like they would be a good partner. You are showing them, and others, that you are proactive and that your reproductive future is important. If they are afraid of someone with that attitude ,then you shouldn’t be with them.”