Spring Stories: Kristina’s Egg Freezing Experience
When it comes to egg freezing, everyone has a story about how they learned about fertility preservation, what motivated their decision to freeze their eggs, and how they felt once the process was complete.
We sat down with Spring Fertility patient Kristina to hear her egg freezing story:
I would love if you could start by introducing yourself. Where do you live, and what do you do professionally?
Kristina: I'm Kristina, I live in New York City, I’m the Chief of Staff to a CEO of a robotic startup, which is really exciting. Prior to that I worked for my same boss at a big database company that he founded. When he left, I followed him to this new company. So, for the past almost 2 years I’ve been at this startup.
Okay, just to dive into your backstory with egg freezing, I'd love to hear why you chose to freeze your eggs. How did you hear about freezing your eggs? What did that look like?
KO: So, at [my last company], we had fertility coverage through Carrot. So, I knew some people there that had done egg freezing and I was planning on doing it there. But it just wasn't the right time, and then of course, the pandemic hit. And then I left and I went to this new company, and at the beginning it was just me and my boss - like I was employee number 2 - and we didn't have any benefits for fertility.
I’m 33, I have some health issues, I'm single. I don't foresee myself having kids within the next 5 years. I don't even know for sure that I want to have kids, but I don't want my age to be a hindrance. You know what I mean? Like, I want to be able to have the options later on. So, I always wanted to do it because I felt like I would feel less pressure about my life and my timeline if I froze my eggs. So, I put some pressure on my boss about getting this benefit. The problem is with small startups, a lot of fertility insurance companies like Carrot and Progyny do not work with companies that are smaller than 1,000 employees.
So, we partnered directly with Spring Fertility to offer these benefits, and we just reimburse the entire amount essentially back to the employee. The second we signed the papers for that I was like, ‘Okay, I'm making my appointment. I'm doing it.’ I was like, ‘No more waiting.’ So, yeah, that was kind of how I got to that journey.
I think the initial consult and getting in the door is a big first step for a lot of people. What was that experience like for you?
KO: Yeah, I mean, it's a little nerve-wracking, because it feels like in most women's appointments you don't have like … I have never had my AMH measured. I've never had my follicles looked at. I had no idea what I was getting into. Luckily Dr. Fischer was super amazing and great at answering all of my questions. It made me feel very comfortable about what I was going into. So yeah, that initial appointment made me feel really good. And it was also nice because I didn't feel pressure after the appointment. I was really specific about the time that I wanted to do it, because I knew what month I wanted to do it. But she was like, ‘You know there is no pressure. We won't bother you again after this. You come to us when you're ready’ and so I felt really comfortable afterwards. But going into that appointment is pretty nerve-wracking.
Totally. I love that you said, “I had a month that I wanted to do it.” Will you say more about how you decided on the when of egg freezing?
KO: Yeah. This is because of who I am as a person – I’m a planner. And my schedule really is dependent on my bosses scheduling. I’m Chief of Staff, I run his entire calendar. I knew when he was going to be on vacation and it happened to coincide with the week after me getting my cycle, so I knew that this would be the perfect month to do it, because I could work from home for an entire week, if I’m just not feeling comfortable and bloated, or whatever, and February in New York is miserable and cold. So, I knew I wouldn't want to be going out and doing things, so that's why I was very much like, “I want to do it in February.” And luckily everything lined up perfectly but the whole process, I think, was all of 13 days from first ultrasound to retrieval. So, it went by really fast.
I think a lot of times people just get overwhelmed thinking it's gonna be this really long process, or freaked out by the idea of having to give themselves injections. Is there any advice you would give anybody preparing to freeze their eggs?
KO: I'm diabetic so the injections were very easy for me, that was not the hard part. I think the amount of injections, and I guess, like the medication itself, feels kind of overwhelming at the beginning. I mean, there’s one point where you’re mixing 2 medications together, like doing chemistry and being a scientist. But I feel like Spring really holds your hand through everything. I sat there and watched the videos of how to do everything just to make sure that I was doing it correctly. It is a time commitment, because you want to make sure that you're doing it at the same time every day, and whatnot. But it felt less overwhelming once I started, but in the beginning, like when I got all my medications to my apartment, I was like, “Oh, my God! What is this?”. But, yeah, once you know, it was totally manageable and like, I said, Spring really holds your hand, which I think is a huge benefit, and is also nice to feel like you can actually ask questions and it didn't feel like my questions were dumb or unnecessary. It felt like I had a good team behind me while doing all this.
Totally. Well, that's our goal, so I’m glad to hear that. And then once you had your retrieval did you have any side effects, or anything that surprised you afterwards?
KO: Yeah, I mean, I was very bloated to the point where I wished I could have unbuttoned my sweatpants, but it was short-lived, so it wasn't terrible. You know, it's just uncomfortable. Luckily, I had my retrieval on a Friday, and then I just took care of myself and was really nice to myself Saturday and Sunday. Laid around, watched TV, ate food. I just tried to be gentle on myself. I think I expected worse, because I've had friends that have done this, and they made it sound miserable. But it wasn't as bad as they made it sound.
I'm glad it wasn't. We often hear a lot of different positive things from people after they cycle, and what they feel like they got out of the experience.
KO: I’ve told all of my friends this - now I’m kind of pushing everybody to freeze their eggs. Especially all of my single friends, because the relief that I feel, as far as like not having pressure about trying to find a partner to have a kid and my “timeline” for what I want to do. My career is super important to me right now. I can't imagine putting that on the back burner to take 6 months of maternity leave at any time in the next 5 years. Like, that is just not gonna happen for me. And I don't feel the pressure now. I feel like I have so much time, and I always said that I don't think I would be able to freeze my eggs without the financial support of my company and because I was able to do it because of our fertility benefit. But now, feeling how I feel, I think I would pay for it out of pocket myself. Like, I'm just knowing how I feel, because the relief I feel is immense.
I think it's so amazing that more and more people are getting those benefits. Because, for many, cost is a big obstacle to overcome if you’re paying out of pocket.
KO: Yeah, I mean, I have a friend that lives in San Francisco - one of my best friends - and she works at a tech company, but they don't have the coverage and I told her, “Look, you need to go to Spring because they have the monthly payments”. And she was like “Honestly, that is worth it. Like, it's not a crazy monthly payment to do it out of pocket.” But the relief I feel, and just the pressure is off, I feel like I can live my life for a little bit longer.
That's so great. Yeah, I think you know that is the exact thing that we hear from so many people. You know, “I feel like I'm dating in my twenties again.” Just doing it for fun and not because I’m trying to find a sperm source, basically.
KO: Right? Yeah, I can date without having this strict timeline in my head. Like, “Okay, Well, if like we need to date for a year, then get engaged, and then I want to have a – “, like I don't feel that pressure right now. It’s really nice.
Have you seen any tangible changes in your dating life since freezing your eggs?
KO: I’m not putting as much pressure for sure. It's funny because I went on a first date while I was in the middle of this process, the timing wasn’t great, but I think I went into it without any pressure. I was actually able to enjoy myself and not be like, “Okay, I hope this guy likes me.” Like, I was very much like, “Whatever.” I feel like I have more control and more options.
I’m so curious, you know, when you went on the date during your cycle, did you tell him you were going through egg freezing? I think that's a conversation a lot of people are curious about.
KO: It's a heavy conversation for a first date. I did tell him, because I kind of had a curfew - I had to go home and do my injection. You know, we wanted to go and have another drink, and I was like, “Hey, I'm having a great time and I would love to. However, I need to be home before 10 P. M. so I can do these injections.” And I explained it to him. I mean, he was really nice and asked great questions about it. And then we talked for a couple weeks afterwards but throughout that time he'd be like, “Oh, how'd your appointment go?” Like he was nice and supportive. We don't talk anymore, but it was nice I didn't have a negative response, which I kind of expected.
Yeah, that's awesome. In terms of things you're looking forward to in the future, this is something I’m trying to ask everybody, take yourself out of just thinking about just egg freezing, but just in general, what are you looking forward to now that you have this freedom? What are you planning to do?
KO: I mean I’m gonna work a lot, per usual, but I think in the next couple of years, I really want to focus on traveling as much as I can. You know, obviously the past 2 years traveling has been on the back burner, because of the pandemic, and now I’m in a position where I’m making the most money I’ve ever made in my life and I have the most freedom. So, I want to travel in the way that I couldn't in my early twenties. I used to travel then, but I had zero dollars to do so and it was really rough. I’m looking forward to a more luxurious travel experience.
We’re so thankful to patients like Kristina for sharing their stories. Everyone has their own reasons for deciding to freeze their eggs (or not!) and we honor each and every ‘why’ that guides their unique fertility journeys.
Interested in sharing your fertility story? Email [email protected] to learn how!