The below is a first hand account of egg freezing with influencer Berniedette A. Flores of petiteandtoned
Berniedette A. Flores…
It’s been a few months since I first froze my eggs at Kindbody, but this journey has been years in the making. I never planned on sharing this part of my story outside of my family and friends, but when given the opportunity, I knew I had to use my platform for good. I also knew that this could be one of the most impactful things I do as an influencer. And I was right! I’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions I’ve received.
Q: Why did you freeze your eggs?
The simple answer is I want kids, but just not now and I wasn’t going to let my biological clock prevent me from having kids later in life.
The more complicated answer is that I simply haven’t found the right person to spend the rest of my life with. So until our paths cross, at least I’ll have my frozen eggs (or “frosties”) reserved for future use as a backup plan.
In the event that I never find that special someone, I’ll at least have my frosties in case I decide to have kids via a sperm donor. Who knows at this point.
Q: Where did you freeze your eggs? And why did you choose that clinic?
I went to Kindbody in San Francisco and it might have been the warm interiors but I felt very welcome when I walked in the doors. I’ve gone to other facilities and literally walked out crying because of how sterile and cold the process felt elsewhere. Most importantly, I didn’t feel like I was doing this alone at Kindbody. It was important to me that they didn’t see me Patient Number 12345, but as a woman about to embark on what I thought was a scary journey. Simply put, I didn’t feel alone. I felt at home here at Kindbody.
It was important to me that they didn’t see me Patient Number 12345, but as a woman about to embark on what I thought was a scary journey. Simply put, I didn’t feel alone. I felt at home here at Kindbody.
Q: How much does it cost?
Kindbody’s pricing info is available here. An average egg freezing will cost just over $6,000 and medications will cost anywhere from $3,000 – $6000. Storage is $840 (starting at Year 2). This does not include fees for lab work as that may vary depending on tests performed as well as your insurance coverage.
I know that the price tag alone is scary, but there are ways to finance it. Kindbody does take insurance, but you’ll have to check with your insurance plan whether or not they will cover any of the costs towards fertility preservation.
I understand that this is A LOT of money. However, having done my research on the reputable institutions here in San Francisco, Kindbody was the most affordable. So it was obvious to me to get treatment at Kindbody.
Q: Does insurance cover fertility treatment?
As noted above, Kindbody does take insurance, but you’ll have to check with your insurance plan whether or not they will cover any of the costs towards fertility preservation.
This is probably why I postponed my treatment a few times. My insurance provider never covered fertility preservation. This actually sparks a fuel in me! Not only are insurance companies behind with the times, but I feel that the coverage I could opt into, at least in my case, was only for infertility benefits. You basically had to prove that you couldn’t get pregnant. This wasn’t the type of insurance plan that covers proactive women who want to preserve their fertility. I rant more about it in this IGTV episode, “My Thoughts on Healthcare Insurance”.
Q: What did you do to prepare?
First off, I stopped birth control for over two years. If I wanted to freeze my eggs, why should I take pills to control what my body wants to naturally produce?
It was a personal choice as I also just hate being on birth control. Not that I had mood swings, but I realized that while I was on birth control, feelings of joy were muted. And on occasion, I was probably a bit more snappy to those I cared about. Everyone is different.
Note that you can still freeze your eggs if you are on some form of birth control. However, the physician will ask you to stop prior to your treatment.
Also, I take care of my body. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I exercise regularly and I try to eat well. Just before I went through my first round of egg freezing, I started a plant-based lifestyle. I don’t know if I’ll be completely 100% vegan as I sometimes take fish oil, but I did recently hear from a Modern Fertility doctor that plant based protein might help produce high quality eggs. Please consult your physician before pursuing a new diet.
Q: How long does the process take?
About two weeks! I didn’t think it would be that quick!
For my first round, I started my medication on Friday, August 7th and my retrieval took place on Wednesday, August 19th!
Q: What happens at a fertility assessment?
First off, the physician will find out what treatment you’re interested in. They will conduct a normal interview to get an idea of your medical history. Besides running blood tests, they also do a special ultrasound. Using a probe, they perform a vaginal ultrasound to count the number of egg follicles you currently have, which varies depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. One ovary will possibly have a higher count than the other ovary. Regardless, this establishes a baseline which they will reference when you’re ready for treatment.
The ultrasound, together with the results of the blood tests, will allow the physician to assess whether or not you have a decent reserve. If things are in good shape, and depending on your age, the physician will let you know if you have a little bit more time to decide when to pursue treatment. If there is reason to be concerned about your ovarian reserve, the physician will most likely suggest pursuing treatment during your next menstrual cycle.
Everyone is different. Someone in their 40s might still have a decent ovarian reserve, while a 26 year old could possibly not have a good reserve. This is why I urge young women to go in for an assessment.
(Pro Tip: It helps the doctor if you send over any previous assessments you’ve had before. I had two different ultrasounds done two years apart as well as blood work done by Modern Fertility. I also had my primary physician’s office send over medical records to Kindbody prior to my assessment.)
Q: How is a fertility assessment different from the Day 3 test taken at the lab or the at-home Modern Fertility test?
See the answer above, but a fertility assessment allows the doctor to count the number of egg follicles you have, which helps establish a baseline and helps them determine, along with other factors, whether or not you have a healthy ovarian reserve.
Kindbody will perform the same tests, if not more, provided by Modern Fertility. If you use my code “PETITEANDTONED”, you can get $100 off of your fertility assessment, which makes the cost of an assessment only $200.
Given that, I think a $200 fertility assessment at Kindbody is a steal! You can book an appointment here. Rest assured that I will never know you used my referral code unless you tell me.
Full disclosure: As with any doctor’s visit, lab work will cost extra, so if that is a concern, please reach out to Kindbody to get an idea how much it could be. I know there are some smart patients out there who ask for the billing codes so that they can contact their insurance companies directly. This way, they can get an idea as to what their out-of-pocket cost might be for an assessment.
Q: How often do you go to the clinic during your cycle? How much time off of work will this entail?
Expect to go to Kindbody first thing in the morning about 3-4 a week during your treatment. They like to see you every other day or so in order to count the number of egg follicles and monitor their growth as well.
Your visits take place either on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Or, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Q: What happens during your cycle visits at the clinic?
It’s similar to your fertility assessment. Blood work on certain days and an ultrasound at each visit. Visits last 10-20 minutes! It might take you longer to get there and back home (or to work)!
They even tested me for COVID-19 during one visit. It was a good precaution to take as freezing eggs potentially with COVID would not be ideal. The results take a few days, but you will know the results prior to your retrieval.
Q: What should you wear to the clinic?
Whatever you want! But I prefer something comfortable. Most patients I saw wore leggings since it was 2020 and quite a few of us were fortunate enough to work from home. Although I froze my eggs during the time of the ‘rona, I actually wore skirts and dresses to make it easier to undress for the ultrasound.
Q: At what age should I freeze my eggs?
This is a personal choice. It all depends on how comfortable you are with the idea of embarking on this journey and what your ovarian reserve looks like.
But this goes out to all my 20 somethings…
I should have done this procedure in my early 20s, even if it meant financing the cost. I truly believe that one round in my early 20s, even if it was financed, would have cost me less than multiple rounds later in life. The yield would probably be higher, and the quality of eggs would be far superior.
But who in their 20s thinks about this? I really hope I reach at least one 20 something to consider freezing their eggs! Or at least to schedule an assessment. Knowing your fertility options will empower you to make the right decisions for yourself and your future.
Q: Is it hard to administer the shots on yourself?
Nope! This makes me laugh now that I look back at it. I share plenty of videos, but this one in particular is when I first administered meds. It was nothing!
Kindbody walks you through each step and by the third or fourth day, you will no longer need to reference the videos!
Q: Do the shots hurt?
No! See here, here, and here. Easy peasy!
The menopur does sting, but it’s not the needle that caused discomfort. It helps to breath!
Did you gain weight or get bloated? How long did it take to lose the weight?
I gained less than 1.5 pounds during my first cycle. And yes, I did get bloated, but mainly towards the end of treatment and during a few days after retrieval. But once the meds were out of my system, and once I got my period, I not only lost the water weight, but I lost the bloated look as well!
For someone who works out a lot, this was a BIG concern to me. But rest assured, the weight gain and bloating is temporary. I returned to normal in about a month’s time.
Q: How bad was the bloating?
The last few days of treatment and post surgery were probably the hardest for me in terms of walking around. I’m so thankful I was working from home. If we were in the office, I definitely needed to take a sick day or two post surgery, and maybe even a sick day or two before surgery. It just became difficult to walk to the bathroom. Walking my dog meant walking very slow and very short distances during that time frame.
Q: Were you allowed to work out?
I worked out up until the morning of my third dosage of medication. I still went on my dog walks for light cardio, but my last intense workout was probably the morning of Day 3. If I felt like working out after Day 3, I toned it down to low impact Pilates or barre, but I had to avoid any twisting exercises. And the truth is, for someone who loves working out like me, some days, I just didn’t feel like it. I thought a dog walk was good enough! I also didn’t want to risk twisting my ovaries while working out. I definitely took it down a few notches to play it safe.
After the surgery, it took me about a week to feel like working out again. Note that your ovaries are still filled with fluid and it took a menstrual cycle to kick in before I felt and looked normal again. Your next period should be within one to two weeks of retrieval.
Q: How emotional did you get? Did you experience drastic mood swings?
I was super emotional about going through the process the first night. I was still scared of administering the shots by myself, but I also was afraid of going through the process alone, which then gets me started on how terrible it is to date anyone (especially with the Peter Pans in San Francisco. You know who you are). It was cyclical.
With Kindbody, and with the help of my followers (you guys are amazing!), I never felt alone during the process. I couldn’t have asked for more support! I was stunned at how much love my first post received, as well as the countless number of direct messages I received from women who either went through the process, or are interested in going through the process! So yes, I got emotional about the support I received, but it was in a good way!
In terms of mood swings, I don’t recall snapping at anyone. Note that my manager was very supportive of me during this time and let’s just say I’m glad he is very patient and very understanding. LOL I freaked out a few times about the situation, but he helped me calm down.
Q: Did surgery hurt? Or were you under anesthesia?
I didn’t feel a thing because I was under anesthesia.
Q: How long did it take for you to recover?
About a week! So take it easy until you debloat and/or get your next period.
Q: How many eggs did you freeze?
I’m waiting to go through my second round before I decide on whether or not to publish these numbers.
Q: Why are you doing more than one round of egg freezing?
Statistics say that you need about 10 eggs for one potentially viable pregnancy. And for some reason, I initially said I want three or four kids. I know that’s a lot! Who knows if that will happen? Regardless, I have some more freezing to do.
Again, had I done this in my early 20s, one round might have been fine. Two would have been GREAT! We’ll see where my egg count lands during this next cycle. That will help determine if I eventually consider doing a third cycle.
Q: Why did you wait a few months for the second round of egg freezing?
You, your ovaries, your body, and your wallet need a break! They all need time to recover.
Will you go to the sperm bank for a donor?
No idea yet. I’ve talked to a few women who went this route and they are very happy with their child(ren). It’s really quite inspirational to see them and their love for their child(ren).
Q: When do you want to have your first child?
Again, no idea yet. But I like that I have options if I need to delay pregnancy.
As you can see, there is so much to talk about egg freezing and IVF. I highly encourage you to attend one of Kindbody’s events. Here is their Eventbrite page. Events are virtual for now, but I look forward to live events once social gatherings are allowed. They host events about once a month.
If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to me. You can always send me a direct message @petiteandtoned or even email me if you prefer (email@example.com). This is a topic that I am extremely passionate about and I always make time to have a conversation with anyone interested in exploring this option.
I’m always happy to support anyone who wants to take their fertility into their own hands. I’ve said this so many times before, but I’ll be damned if I let my biological clock dictate when I can have kids. For now, Sassy is my little princess, but I look forward to having children of my own one day.
If you aren’t quite ready to build your family today, egg freezing is one of the most effective ways to preserve your fertility for the future.
This piece was originally shared on March 14, 2023, but has since been updated to include the most accurate and up-to-date actionable advice.
These are by no means all-inclusive. In fact, I’ve attended a few Kindbody events online and the conversation seems to be endless. But the fact that I’ve received so many questions about the topic means the conversation needs to happen and it’s just getting started. Fertility isn’t exactly a topic covered during sex education, which is a complete disservice to women…
I share quite a bit of my journey on Instagram. You can view my stories highlights here and IGTV episodes here. It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster, but it was a blessing to have so much support. More importantly, I was pleasantly surprised that so many people I know (or recently met) have gone through or are interested in the egg freezing or IVF process…
Disclosure: The opinions are my own and are based on my experiences. I am not a physician. For any medical advice, please consult your physician.