More Women Are Freezing Their Eggs For Later Use
New technology is allowing more women to pause their biological clocks and start a family whenever they're ready.
The NYU operating room and lab are connected and are a short walk from Grifo’s office. Inside the lab, a technician is working on an IVF: She sits in front of a computer screen that shows an enhanced version of what’s going on under her microscope. A long needle is slowly inserted into the egg, which has just been retrieved and resembles a harmless late summer jellyfish. A tiny cloud of black is released—“The sperm,” Grifo whispers excitedly. The team will know tomorrow if the fertilization took. The frozen eggs are stored in large metal vats in the back of the lab. “There are eggs in here dating back to 2004,” says Grifo, who tells the frightening story of when Hurricane Sandy knocked out the building’s power, and the storage vats had to be quickly moved into the one room powered by a small generator.
Fertility is a $4 billion industry in the U.S., but egg freezing makes up only a tiny percentage of it. Of the $10,000 it costs a woman to freeze her eggs, most of that goes to labor and laboratory costs. “We barely break even on it,” says Grifo, who adds that, unlike IVF, the volume isn’t yet enough to make any real money. And because it’s cost-prohibitive, younger women aren’t lining up. Two companies, Extend Fertility and Fertility Authority, are working to bring down the price of the procedure to attract a less well-off segment of the population.
Extend Fertility’s website works more “as a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for egg freezing,” says founder and Chief Executive Officer Christy Jones. Fertility clinics pay a retainer, and women visit the company’s website to learn more about them. About seven years ago, Jones reached out to a few large companies with progressive benefits packages about the possibility of covering egg freezing. “We got a lot of pushback from them, saying, ‘Well, we don’t want to seem Machiavellian, that we’re paying to freeze a woman’s eggs so she just keeps working harder,’ ” she says.
The next frontier in egg freezing is genetic screening. The process is called a polar body biopsy and involves testing each egg’s DNA, then keeping only those that are normal, which would greatly increase the odds of a successful pregnancy. “Many women go through the process and end up with absolutely nothing,” Sher says. “With genetic testing, we can cut down on that emotionally damaging false hope.” Of course, no good thing is free: The tests cost an additional $3,000 to $4,000. And “nothing is ever going to be 100 percent,” Grifo says. “Listen,” he adds, after learning that I’m about to turn 33, “you shouldn’t wait too long to get pregnant. You’re never going to be totally ready.”
EggBanxx is the industry's first national network of highly skilled and specially trained egg freezing physicians working to make egg freezing affordable with low-interest financing and a bundled egg freezing package.
EggBanxx, FertilityAuthority’s new egg freezing program. Egg freezing is becoming a viable option for women of reproductive age who are not ready to have children, offering the hope that they’ll be able to use those eggs when they are ready. While there are marketing companies that offer cost savings for IVF, EggBanxx is the first one in the rapidly growing egg freezing marketplace. EggBanxx was started less than two months ago and is quickly gaining market share in the industry.
By using a fertility clinic in the EggBanxx network, patients can save up to 15% on egg freezing costs. Savings are offered to the patient in exchange for volume to the fertility clinic. The Bloomberg piece points out that it can cost $10,000 to freeze your eggs, and that EggBanxx “negotiates discounts” on patients’ behalf.
“I’m not a huge fan of the term ‘discount’ because I don’t want patients to think that a reduction in fees equals a reduction in quality of care. Through EggBanxx, it’s important to us that the patient knows she can have both a high quality of care and a reasonable price point. ‘Discount’ is simply a more indicative term than the term ‘financing’ that’s previously been used by companies when referring to programs that help lower costs to patients,” says Gina Bartasi, founder and CEO of FertilityAuthority. “Our shared goal as an industry is to help more patients be biological parents if they want to be, and if we can play a small role in that by helping patients find extraordinary care in an economical way, then that’s absolutely our mission.” she adds. “Egg freezing is still expensive, but every bit of savings helps”.
EggBanxx is part of the FertilityAuthority brand of websites, with more than1 million visitors monthly -- the largest volume of any fertility website in the world.
To read the full Businessweek article:
To learn more about joining the EggBanxx network of fertility treatment centers, email: info@EggBanxx.com or call 646-350-0748.
The FertilityAuthority family of websites provides comprehensive, interactive resources and referrals for women and men seeking quality fertility information, as well as tools to simplify the search for trusted fertility doctors or fertility clinics. With more than one million monthly visits, the websites FertilityAuthority.com, FertileThoughts.com, IVFAdvantage.com, EggFreezingCosts.com, EggBanxx.com, GenderSelectionAuthority.com — along with a staff of patient care coordinators — assist in making the important connection between patients and the physicians who can assist them in their family-building efforts.
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