Amy Schumer recently posted about her experience with IVF and freezing her eggs. Spoilers: it f*cking blows. I did the same process in November when I froze my eggs—when you freeze your eggs, you’re undergoing the same hormone injection process as IVF—and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through (and that’s coming from a stage IV cancer patient). And it was only two weeks! There is such a stigma around women and anything to do with children already. If you have trouble conceiving, there’s something wrong with you. If you don’t want kids, you suck. If you can’t breastfeed, the way you raise your child, etc, etc, etc. Women are constantly getting sh*t on in the fertility department for absolutely everything. Maybe it’s because of this that women, especially famous women, just don’t talk about IVF very often. In fact, a bunch of celebrities now hide their pregnancies and children just to get some privacy away from all of society’s opinions, and I don’t even blame them.
But look. IVF or egg freezing is really, really hard. And it’s hard when you’re a nobody and it’s hard when you’re Amy Schumer. Which is why I was honestly really glad when Amy posted this super real photo:
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I’m a week into IVF and feeling really run down and emotional. If anyone went through it and if you have any advice or wouldn’t mind sharing your experience with me please do. My number is in my bio. We are freezing my eggs and figuring out what to do to give Gene a sibling. ❤️
That bruising on either side of her stomach are from the daily injections to get your ovaries bigger than grapefruits (SERIOUSLY) to release a ton of eggs at once. Amy wrote that she’s “feeling really run down and emotional” and is only a week into her injections. Girl, been there.
For the record, the injections are insanely brutal. I ended up with three daily injections that I couldn’t do myself, so I went to the clinic every single day. At first, it’s like, “Yeah it sucks getting shots every day”, but then you go about your business and it’s NBD. But then things change—and quickly. By day three, you’re starting to bloat, you’re super emotional, and your sensitivity increases. And then it just landslides. What’s worse than getting three injections a day, you ask? Doing it when your skin feels raw and every needle feels like a white-hot electric nerve. You’re also getting an invasive ultrasound with what feels like a f*cking dildo and blood work almost every day. And even better? One of the injections burns like the fire of a thousand suns straight into your soul. F*CK Menopur, guys.
I looked four months pregnant, I was so sick I couldn’t get off the couch, I could barely eat, and everything in my whole body hurt. The hormones also make you feel insane. It feels like torture, and then you just go back every day for more. By Day 10, I was too fainty and lightheaded and sick to drive, so I had a friend take me every day. My veins receded from all the blood draws. On day 11, they did the ultrasound and barely touched my giant grapefruit ovary, and I still started sobbing hysterically because it hurt so bad (I was that sensitive). On day 12, I told the doctor that I was going to kill myself or her or both of us if she didn’t trigger me (an injection that releases your eggs so that they can harvest them) that day. Day 13, a celebrity I love (that I’m not going to out for being at the fertility office) saw me essentially throwing a tantrum like a toddler before my injections, but thank GOD that was my last day.
And the worst part? No one warns you about this part of it. Probably because they don’t want to scare you. It’s similar with my cancer treatment. The oncologist told me that the meds work and I won’t be that sick from chemo. Has she ever done it? No? Then you don’t get to say that. (And btw, I’m totally sick from chemo and they can’t give me any more meds, hi.)
Bottom line, it’s important that we talk about this and that women who go through this process understand that it sucks for all of us and you’re not alone. That’s why it’s really cool and important to see someone like Amy Schumer be so vulnerable and admit how hard it is. It really did break me, even though the process takes a relatively short amount of time. I also learned that it’s a really good thing I’m just a writer and not like, someone with government secrets, because I assure you, I would crack immediately at the slightest discomfort.
More celebrities being honest and upfront about the difficulties women go through when trying to conceive helps all of us feel less alone. Being a woman is really hard and can suck in a lot of ways, but it’s comforting in a weird way to know that even the rich and famous have these same issues.
Good luck with your egg harvest, Amy! And once again, F*CK Menopur.
Images: DFree / Shutterstock.com; amyschumer / Instagram
So if you’ve read my recent articles, you know that I have breast cancer. Super fun. It’s all been really glamorous. My life is everything I’d dreamed it would be. I’m about to start chemo, which, since it’s just pumping your body full of poison to kill any cancer cells, causes a lot of other issues. One that I wasn’t aware of is infertility. To prepare for this, even though I don’t even like kids and don’t think I want them, I am freezing my eggs because I’m just not ready to make a decision about it, especially under duress. Also, since I have BRCA, this way if I do decide to ruin my life and procreate, I can pick eggs that don’t have BRCA and the fun cancer rollercoaster can die with me. I know, I’m basically a saint.
More and more women are choosing to freeze their eggs for a variety of reasons: they aren’t ready to have kids yet, they don’t have a partner, they want to eradicate hereditary health issues, they have some lady problems that could lead to infertility, they have issues that require a surrogate, and of course, chemo. I’m spending the next two weeks shooting up, pretending to be pregnant, looking pregnant, and then getting those eggs on ice. Since I have to go through this, I figured I’d fill you guys in. This way, if you ever have to make this decision, you’ll be better prepared.
It’s A LOT Of Needles
Shots are about to have a whole new meaning. I’m not an idiot; I assumed there would be some needles. But to get your egg babies ready for harvesting (they literally call it that—what am I, a f*cking chicken?), you’re going to have to shoot up a lot of hormones. The process is different if you’re doing IVF to try to get pregnant with a partner. When you’re freezing, you do the accelerated version. For me, it’s two weeks of two injections of hormones a day, in the stomach, and then a trigger shot before your surgery to get the eggs out. And you’re supposed to do them all yourself. In addition, you’ll get blood work every other day for the first week and a half, and then every day leading up to your surgery. You’ll also get an utrasound every time you have blood work that consists of them shoving a giant dildo with a camera up you and stabbing at your ovaries. It’s all terrible but manageable. Also, I’m a huge baby and told them under no circumstances am I going to be able to give myself shots (especially in the stomach!), so they’re letting me come into the office every single day and the nurse is doing it. Thank God for that.
It’s soooo expensive to freeze your eggs. Like, insanely so. My cost just for the surgery is around $7k. My shots are free because I have cancer (it’s like, the one perk) and there are programs that pay for cancer patients’ fertility drugs. But to pay out of pocket, your meds/shots can cost anywhere between $5,000-$17,000. None of this includes, btw, the zillion appointments, blood work, and ultrasound costs. Or even the later testing, fertilization, implantation process once you want to actually use the eggs. You also will have to pay to house your eggs in the freezer—mine costs $700 A YEAR. So if you’re considering egg freezing, definitely save up and/or cry to your parents about how they’ll never have grandchildren unless they help pay for this.
Your Insurance Probably Won’t Cover It
Ooooh do I have a bone to pick with insurance companies over this sh*t. My insurance, although it’s really good and REALLY EXPENSIVE, does not cover infertility. I so kindly told them on the phone that I am not actually infertile, you are making me infertile from cancer treatment, so this should be covered. To which they said it doesn’t matter. Also? They should have to cover infertility because infertility is a medical condition. You’re telling me flaccid penises are covered but fertility drugs are not? A man’s orgasm at 90 is more important than a woman’s ability to have kids? Are you F*CKING kidding me? FYI, this is exactly what I said to the insurance rep, and she agreed with me. So, if you’re considering freezing your eggs in the future, definitely check beforehand if it’s covered by your insurance.
Your Eggs Really Do Get Old
I hate when people are like, “oh half your eggs die by the time you’re 35”. It’s super annoying and irrelevant. Like, you have a million eggs, so even if half died, you still have like, 500,000, right? I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. People over the age of 35 get pregnant all the time, so shut up.
But when it comes to egg freezing, age actually is a problem. It’s actually a complete miracle anyone gets pregnant if you look at the science behind it. With egg freezing, the odds of how many healthy eggs will survive are really bad. It’s like, oh if you have 25 egg follicles, maybe only half will be mature enough to extract. Then some of those won’t survive the freezing/thawing process. Some won’t get fertilized. Some will have something wrong with them. If you have BRCA, like me, 50% will have BRCA. Then some won’t implant properly. So by my math, you’re left with, what, half an egg? It’s a weird and scary realization. And the older you are, the worse the odds are of having decent eggs survive. My doctor said at 28, my eggs are perfect for freezing, but if I decide I want to do it again (assuming my body recovers from chemo and I’m not completely infertile) because I don’t get enough eggs (they implant a bunch at a time hoping one attaches), or the ones that made it all have BRCA, etc., she said I need to be 32 or 33 at the oldest. People do freeze their eggs older, but it’s a numbers/odds game, and they have less success. So if this is something you’re interested in, meet with a specialist before that window closes.
You’ll Be Fake Pregnant
Something else I wasn’t aware of: you basically have to pretend you’re pregnant. You also will look kind of pregnant. I am taking pre-natal vitamins, can’t drink alcohol, have to be on a high-protein, low-carb, no sugar diet, and apparently the hormones make your stomach puff out and bloat. Again, so, so much glamour in my life. At least it stops post-surgery, and then it’s just a couple weeks before your body returns to normal. But ugh, I hate diets, and I love sugar, so I’m overall not pleased about this part. Everything sucks about this.
It’s A Fast Process
Thankfully the injections, bloat, and invasive ultrasound molestation are all short-lived, because the whole process only takes two weeks. Thank God. I mean, you can endure anything for two weeks, right? Especially when it’s such a life-altering decision. I just have to say if I actually have kids and use these eggs, those kids better be so f*cking cute, because I had to be tortured and pay a ton of money to get them here. I will make sure to guilt them over this every day of their lives. They also will be going to kindergarten telling all the other kids they were made in a freezer, because we have to make this fun somehow. So, if you’re worried about freezing your eggs, just know that it goes by really quick, and then at least you have the option open of having kids whenever you want.
Do you have any other questions about egg freezing? Have you ever considered it? Do you feel pressure to have kids younger than you’d like? Let me know in the comments.
Images: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash; Giphy (6)