KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It's supposed to be safe and easy and it's not cheap, but more and more women are putting down thousands of dollars to freeze their eggs not only for social concerns, but for health reasons.
"Even in this clinic, since last year, I saw probably seven to eight patients who came for egg freezing,” Samuel Kim, the University Kansas Hospital Reproductive Endocrinology Division Head, said.
He explained the process of harvesting and freezing eggs was considered experimental until 2012 and is now quickly becoming a popular trend where the University of Kansas Hospital is the only hospital in Kansas that provides women with the services, aside from a private clinic also in Kansas.
Kim said women between 35 and 41 are freezing their eggs; it is referred to as “social egg freezing” or “elective egg freezing.”
Many of them are doing it because of their careers or education and it appears to be highly successful.
"We have a probably 90 percent survival after thawing the eggs," Kim said.
The technology of quickly freezing the eggs instead of slowly freezing them like in the past has made it more successful and can keep the eggs good for between 10 and 20 years, according to Kim.
Katie Jaschke just had her eggs frozen Monday, but it’s not because she is concerned with aging or her career. It's because she just had a double mastectomy and is now fighting breast cancer at age 27.
She was tested for the BRCA1 gene and the results came back negative. While there is no history of cancer in her family, the diagnoses came as a huge surprise for the Kansas City native who now works as a nurse.
"I call it my insurance policy just in case I can't have babies, which could be very likely," Jaschke said. "Having my 12 little half babies frozen is reassuring.”
She is well aware the chemotherapy could ruin her chances of having a baby. Although Jaschke said the procedure was simple and only left her “uncomfortable” for a few days, she admits that it was extremely costly.
Doctor Kim says the price tag ranges from $9,000 to $20,000 depending on what part of the country you are in. Most insurance policies do not cover the costs, even for cancer patients.
"I think that's something that most people don't think about and I think it's one of the most important things," Jaschke said.
She now supports legislation that would require insurance to cover the costs.
"I think it absolutely should be offered to anybody that's young that has a diagnosis of cancer," she said. "Or women that are approaching 30 and are focused on other things."
Jaschke said having a baby is a, “huge quality of life marker.”
Kim says he expects the trend to continue to grow.
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