🥚 Rilka’s egg harvest
I froze some eggs in May! This doc is not meant to be a guide to the process, but it contains some details and impressions from my experience that might be interesting to you if you’re considering freezing eggs also!

Thanks to the people in my community and all the internet strangers who have written up their own experience reports on egg freezing. I recommend reading these for more insight into the process:

(FYI, at the time of writing this I’m 28 years old. Age is just a number but apparently in women’s fertility it’s a pretty important number!)

🌱 Clinic

After doing some research on the available fertility preservation clinics in SF, I decided to reach out to Spring Fertility. Decision-making factors included one dubious pink website that gave success rates by clinic for various IVF procedures in the area; glowing Yelp reviews; a lack of a previous catastrophic cryotank failure; and reassuringly comprehensive marketing materials. 

The Yelp reviews indicated that Dr. Tran at Spring was highly competent and had a dry, candid, and numbers-heavy bedside manner, which sounded nice, so I chose him and his care team. It was a great experience, I really recommend them!

🗓 Timeline

  • 3/10 - Reached out to Spring via their website
  • 4/2 - First in-person consultation; initial ultrasound to check health and count follicles
  • 4/11 - First day of full-flow period (cycle 0 day 0)
  • 4/21 - Start peeing on a stick every morning until ovulation detected 
  • 4/30 - Start taking progestin pills every morning for 10 days
  • 5/12 - First day of full-flow period (cycle 1 day 0); baseline ultrasound; start daily evening at-home injections (FSH and LH)
  • 5/18 - Start daily morning at-home injections (GnRH antagonist) in addition to the evening injections
  • 5/25 - Egg retrieval  
  • 5/31 - First day of full-flow period (cycle 2 day 0) 

💊 Preparation

The first menstrual cycle of the process was mostly uneventful. I reached out to Spring with the first day of my period and they gave me a rough schedule of the upcoming 1.5 months. They also sent some educational videos that explained what happens in your body during the whole IVF process (Chris and I were originally thinking of freezing embryos, hence the IVF part, but ultimately decided not to).

In the days around my expected ovulation date I had to pee on a stick every morning so that we would know exactly when ovulation occurred.

10-12 days before the expected first day of my next period, I was instructed to start taking Aygestin (synthetic progestin) pills. 

💔 Mood 
I’d tried hormonal birth control (the pill) once in college and stopped because it led to weight gain, depression, and really dry eyes… so I was a little nervous about the progestin pills. From my very subjective experience, the nervousness was warranted! I responded to many situations in a much more emotional, irritable, sad, and mood-swing-y way than usual. Sorry to Chris and my friends and coworkers 😭

💉 Injections

This is what everyone talks about when they talk about egg freezing or IVF, and it was definitely a novel experience for me! I still can’t believe you’re, like, allowed to mix powders and diluents in your own home and inject them into yourself (but that’s also my non-diabetes privilege talking, I learned that it’s pretty similar to self-administering insulin).

I’m a huge baby and it took probably a solid hour my first time to prep everything through my panic, and then Chris gave me the shot on the first night. The Menopur (menotropins) burned on the way in, which was scary, but for me the sensation quickly subsided after the injection. Fun fact: did you know menotropins are extracted from the urine of menopausal women? You learn something new every day!!!

It never got exactly easy but I developed a soothing ritual around it: prep all the syringes and needles, put on some soft piano music, alcohol swab a section of stomach, grab a nice fatty roll of stomach, take a deep breath, insert the needle, depress the plunger, exhale while pulling the needle out.

Physically the sensation after injection was not too bad. My stomach did feel quite tender and sore near all the injection sites; it got difficult by the end to find a nice fleshy stomach area that wasn’t already painful to the touch from an earlier injection. One or two times after the injection I developed a suspicious hard lump at the injection site, but a quick google told me this was likely a common hematoma and it would be ok.

🩺 Monitoring appointments
The monitoring appointments were frequent but relatively quick. Almost all of them consisted of a transvaginal ultrasound (you really, uh, get used to them sticking that wand up there and poking it around while having a normal conversation with you) and a blood draw.