Wannabe Grandparents Are Freezing Their Kids’ Eggs by Rico Dilello
I usually write articles regarding financial planning and not family planning. However, two couples in our dinner club who want to be grandparents are feeling distressed because their daughters are having fertility problems. Both women are in their mid-thirties and are going to fertility clinics for IVF treatments.
The first IVF treatment is now covered by our provincial health care program but not the fertility drugs. Not all Canadian provinces’ health care programs cover these treatments. The total cost for egg extraction, fertilization, implantation and drugs is in the $20,000 to $25,000 range.
The reality is women are putting off marriage to pursue opportunities to further their career ambitions. Many of them have graduated with a mountain of student debt. Others are saving for a down payment for a home before starting a family. Unfortunately, the biological clock keeps ticking diminishing the chances of having children.
Reports from fertility clinics around the U.S. are showing the increase of parental contribution as adult women opt to freeze their eggs. For many would-be-grandparents, helping to cover the cost of the expensive oocyte cryopreservation is both an investment in their daughters’ futures and in their own as well.
Though Egg freezing technology has in recent years improved in leaps and bounds and many women reaching the 35 year old milestone have begun to consider the treatment as a solution. Until recently oocyte cryopreservation was a last resort for woman whose chances of having children were jeopardized by an illness like cancer, but thanks to advancements, egg freezing has become a credible option for others.
Roughly 30 percent of women age 35 may take a year or more to conceive. Doctors don’t want you to wait that long to find out if you’re one of them. Time is of the essence, and if you’re having trouble conceiving after six months, see a specialist to undergo some testing. Intrauterine insemination is a less invasive assisted reproductive technology that may work but in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be an excellent treatment option as well.
Doctors are noticing a growing trend in parental assistance, Dr. Daniel Shapiro from Atlanta told the New York paper that roughly three quarters of his patients undergoing the procedure are funded at least in part by their mothers and fathers.
‘I was surprised at first about the parental involvement, but now I expect it to be the case, ‘ he said, explaining that many patients tell him: ‘”My parents want me to have this as a gift.”‘
All this makes the process a very expensive, high risk gamble, freezing eggs does not guarantee they will be healthy and responsive at the other end. Because egg freezing is still an experimental clinical treatment, as yet there is little data to show how many women are seeking treatment and how successful it has been.
A helping hand from a family member therefore is certainly something to consider. Having the conversation with your daughter will be difficult but the gift of life is priceless.
By Rico Dilello