Episode 139: Egg Freezing: Love, Career, and Future Kids
“Do you want to have kids?”
For some people this question may come with ease, for others, it may raise more questions and emotions. Today’s guest is comfortable with not knowing whether or not she sees herself as a parent but most importantly she’s given the ability to pursue a treatment that could preserve her fertility if she decided to change her mind.
In this episode, we hear from Sarah Fisher Lu on why she deferred her decision to have a child by freezing her eggs with Progyny. She explains what this experience was like, how Progyny’s Patient Care Advocates (PCA) made her feel comfortable and supported, and she will never regret this decision.
Guest: Sarah Fisher Lu, Progyny Member
Host: Lola Lorber, Progyny
For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources.
Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @ThisisInfertilityPodcast and use the #ThisisInfertility.
Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about fertility preservation, check out Progyny’s YouTube Video, Egg Freezing: How Many Eggs Do You Need to Freeze? and resources on Progyny’s website, Top 17 Resources for Egg Freezing
Here are some highlights from this episode:
Stumbling Upon “The Next Frontier” in Fertility
02:21 – 04:41
Sarah Fisher Lu: My company that I worked for at the time had always sort of been at the forefront of benefits for employees. And they’re really kind of known for a lot of their, you know, early HR practices. Their health care benefits are fantastic. And part of that was egg freezing. And so, I was actually, for a period of time, writing the company communications for employees about things like benefits and egg freezing and maternity and parental leave. So, I had the chance to really see it up close, and understand the company’s decision to start offering these benefits really kind of piqued my interest at that point.
Everything that I read about it both from the press and from firsthand accounts was just like this is sort of the next frontier for people, bringing more choice to their family planning decisions. We all kind of know what the birth control pill contraception did for women, years ago, decades ago. And this, to me, really felt like the next step in terms of scientific advances that allow people to sort of press pause, or literally freeze their ability to have kids and just like the opportunity of deferring the decision a bit longer. If you’re not ready to do it at the point when you’re in childbearing ages. That is prime.
Lola Lorber: You might wonder why egg freezing has seemingly suddenly risen in popularity over the past decade. Well, about 10 years ago, a new way to freeze a woman’s eggs was developed, a technology called vitrification. I’ll stay out of the weeds here for you, but in general this process improves the success of egg freezing considerably. Prior to vitrification, a great majority of eggs would be damaged during the freeze thaw process. But with vitrification, a significant number of eggs survive this process. This means that egg freezing has become remarkably successful in recent years.
The Egg Freezing Process with Progyny
05:04 – 07:05
Sarah Fisher Lu: For somebody like me, who just wasn’t sure that I was ready to start trying to have kids, it was such a great option to just take the heat off a little bit of the decision-making.
It was really nice to have the support of Progyny and to walk you through it, provide resources, and ask questions. I felt much better informed, honestly, going to the doctor’s office and talking to the actual practitioners about it and what I was, you know, in for.
Lola Lorber: Educating members about things like IUI, IVF, and egg freezing is a big part of what I do here at Progyny as a Patient Care Advocate (PCA). The egg freezing process on paper is fairly simple. Medications are introduced to stimulate the ovaries to mature more eggs than usual, then an egg retrieval is performed to retrieve those eggs. And then those eggs are frozen and stored for future use. Simple, right? Well, what I didn’t say is that there are a lot of medications introduced. And these medications are administered at home by the patient, or with the help of a friend or partner. I didn’t mention that until they retrieve eggs, no one will know how many eggs will be retrieved in each cycle, or that there is also no clear wrong or right answer for just how many eggs a given person might need down the road. So, in reality, it is a complicated subject, there’s a lot to consider. Fortunately, fertility doctors are readily available to walk you through the finer points. And for Progyny members, their patient care advocate is just a phone call away.
Your Journey, Your Choice
08:31 – 11:04
Lola Lorber: So, what’s a good result from an egg retrieval cycle? Is it 20 eggs? 15? Is 5 a good number? Well, it depends. It depends on the person’s age, overall reproductive health and their family building goals. If someone is 31 years old, healthy, and hoping to have one child down the road, 10 eggs is a great number. But if that same person is hoping to have three children, maybe they’d be happier with 15. It’s important to understand that the number of eggs depends on a lot of factors. And the right number of eggs really depends on you. So that being said, we aren’t going to share the number of eggs that Sara was able to freeze, because the far more relevant information is how she felt about the number of eggs that she put into storage.
It’s possible that Sarah will never need these eggs. She and her husband could decide to start trying to have sex a few times and find success. Or they might decide they don’t want to have kids at all. So, we asked if she would consider all of this to have been a waste if it turns out that she never needs to use her frozen eggs.
Sarah Fisher Lu Oh, yeah, never, never waste of time. To me, that would be a great outcome nonetheless, if I decide I don’t need them. That means, you know, I made different choices in my life, or I was able to conceive in a different way. And so, for me doing the procedure was about being able to defer some of that choice and not having it feel forced on me. So, I think I would never regret having that, you know, opportunity.
I would love to see it become more mainstream. I just think, to me, it’s inevitable, right?
Lola Lorber is a Patient Care Advocate at Progyny. In her first year and a half she has assisted over 2000 members in their fertility journey. Before working at Progyny, she worked as a birth and postpartum doula. She has supported 100+ families in birth and the postpartum period. She is a certified lactation counselor and childbirth educator. She also has a background in acting and comedy; she is certain to add humor, enthusiasm, and humility in everything that she does. Lola lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their English Springer Spaniel, Booger.
Sarah Fisher Lu is Head of Communications at Compass, previously holding roles at Google and in Washington D.C. with the U.S. House of Representatives. She froze her eggs using the Progyny benefit, and welcomed a daughter in June 2021. She lives in the New York area with her husband and daughter.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Doctor Turtle
Track: I snost I Lost
Artist: John Woodward
Track: Once Tomorrow Instrumental Version
Artist: Steve Combs
Track: A Vital Piece of Music for all Your Soundtrack Needs
Track: To Move an Inch