Time Magazine Turned to a National Leader, Shady Grove Fertility (SGF), to Understand the Rise of Egg Freezing Cycles during a Global Pandemic

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Time Magazine set out to understand the surge in elective egg freezing demand, despite a global pandemic, so they reached out to SGF physicians and those from other centers to discuss why.

Shady Grove Fertility experienced a 52% increase in egg freezing from June through September 2020, indicative of a larger egg freezing trend among women during the pandemic.

“Everybody had to take a hard stop in their lives. And I think what happened was it gave people the time and the space to kind of reassess their priorities and the directions that they’re taking in their life.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has led people to trade social lives for sheltered ones at home, it has also offered women time to reflect on their future family-building plans, an impact that Shady Grove Fertility (SGF) says could contribute to the uptick in egg freezing, as recently reported in Time Magazine’s article, “Data Show More Women Are Freezing Their Eggs During the Pandemic, Defying Doctors’ Expectations.”

“Everybody had to take a hard stop in their lives,” says Sharon Covington, MSW, LCSW-C, Director of Psychological Support Services at SGF. “And I think what happened was it gave people the time and the space to kind of reassess their priorities and the directions that they’re taking in their life.”

To get a better understanding of egg freezing trends, TIME tapped 54 fertility centers across major American cities, including SGF, which has 37 locations across the eastern seaboard, for analysis. SGF has seen a 50% increase in women freezing their eggs since 2019, among other fertility trends made apparent during 2020. In March 2020, SGF was forced to limit fertility treatment services, but upon full reopening, experienced a 52% increase in egg freezing from June through September 2020.

Despite SGF’s adaption to a not-so “business as usual” model given the extra precautions the practice is taking to foster a safe and healthy fertility space, Covington explained to TIME that she is busier than ever. Upon assessing why there is a significant surge in cycles, Covington explained that the women she sees are freezing their eggs because of the pandemic, not in spite of it. Women who were once occupied with busy social and professional lives are now grounded at home. This time in isolation allowed women to pursue treatment privately.

Pavna Brahma, M.D., an SGF physician in Atlanta, was among the physicians interviewed by TIME. She theorizes that many factors contribute to the rise in fertility preservation, including social changes induced by the pandemic, more job flexibility to attend appointments, and growing awareness about the advantages of egg freezing. She continued to share that economic factors may also play a role in the egg freezing boom. Many women “want to take advantage of the moment when they know they have coverage and economic stability in their job,” explains Dr. Brahma.

Fertility preservation and egg freezing are key influencers in Dr. Brahma’s passion for reproductive endocrinology, positioning her career more as a mission rather than a job. She hopes to expand access to egg freezing and inform women about its empowering benefits.

The Rise of Egg Freezing Over the Years

SGF is one of the largest fertility centers in the country and among the top 5 egg freezing programs across all 50 states. For women who have reservations about the cost-benefit of egg freezing, SGF offers a 100% refund guarantee program for elective egg freezing.

In the TIME article, staggering data on egg freezing over the greater part of a decade is revealed. In 2009, just 475 women froze their eggs, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). By 2018, 13,275 women did so, an increase of 2,695%.

SGF’s own employee and patient, Melanie, was among the small circle of women who froze their eggs in 2009. Bradshaw had her sights set on traveling the world rather than micro-monitoring her biological clock, leading her to freeze 23 eggs with SGF. In 2020, nearly 11 years after freezing her eggs, Bradshaw returned to SGF to thaw her eggs and is now happily adjusting to life with her newborn.

Another SGF egg freezing patient, Rachel, opens up about her proactive steps to parenthood, “Egg freezing is an investment in the future and probably the best one I’ve ever made. I no longer have to worry about my biological clock ticking as I rebuild my life. No matter how old I am if or when I decide to have another child, my eggs will always be 36. As my eggs wait to be thawed one day, medicine continues to advance, and the statistics continue to improve. How lucky are women to have this gift?! As I prepare for one more cycle, the only regret I have is that I didn’t freeze my eggs sooner.”

Addressing the Prospects of Parenthood with Egg Freezing

Egg freezing does not guarantee the promise of having a baby one day but freezing at least 15 eggs does significantly increase the odds, with the actual quantity dependent upon a woman’s age. SGF’s Joseph Doyle, M.D., was among the researchers who published the following egg freezing statistics and success rates in the peer reviewed medical journal Fertility and Sterility:

  • Women under the age of 38 have a 70 to 80 percent likelihood of taking home a baby if they freeze between 15 and 20 eggs.
  • For women under 38 years of age, between 40 to 45 percent of women will have a live birth if they thaw 8 to 9 eggs.
  • Greater than 85 percent of all frozen eggs will survive our thawing process.
  • Among the eggs that survived the thawing process, 71 percent will become successfully fertilized.

“As we have continued to gather data daily on egg thawing, we have grown increasingly confident in this procedure,” explains Dr. Doyle. “And we back this confidence with a money-back guarantee, a program that we call our Shared Risk 100% Refund Program. Patients who participate in Shared Risk can receive their money back should their attempts at having a child using their frozen eggs prove unsuccessful. As with any SGF treatment plan, our goal is for you to take home a baby, and we do everything we can to help you grow your family—when the timing is right for you.”

Looking for more information? Watch SGF's Egg Freezing On-Demand webinar, available for viewing at your convenience.

Women interested in egg freezing can schedule an appointment directly with an SGF specialist without a referral by calling 1-877-411-9292 or by completing this brief online form.

About Shady Grove Fertility (SGF)
SGF is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence with more than 85,000 babies born and 5,000+ 5-star patient reviews. With 37 locations throughout FL, GA, MD, NY, PA, VA, D.C., and Santiago, Chile, we offer patients virtual physician consults, deliver individualized care, accept most insurance plans, and make treatment affordable through innovative financial options, including 100% refund guarantees. More physicians refer their patients to SGF than any other center. Call 1-888-761-1967 or visit ShadyGroveFertility.com.

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Dana DeBoer
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