I wasn’t able to freeze my eggs. Now I’m helping other women freeze theirs for free

Motherly Collective

In 2017, right in the midst of launching Uber Health at Uber, I felt a pain in my side that wouldn’t go away. After pushing my doctors for testing, I had a diagnostic surgery that revealed I had an incredibly rare abdominal disease (I am one of fewer than 200 people globally to ever be diagnosed with it). Turns out, I had masses growing throughout my abdomen and was told I may never be able to have a biological child. This diagnosis kicked off a very long journey for me–both overcoming this disease with two major surgeries and treatments, and thinking through my fertility options

Because so little is known about my diagnosis, it was unclear if I could pursue egg freezing ahead of my surgeries, so I started exploring egg donation. What stuck out as I went through the process was how antiquated and, for a lack of a better word, “icky” the traditional system felt. 

It was hard to reconcile that the future of my family could be reduced to clunky systems that placed an overemphasis on superficial and classist attributes, relied on cash compensation and felt hollow and opaque. 

And if I thought that, what would my potential future child think? One recent Harvard study found that 62.2% of donor-conceived adults think the exchange of money for donor gametes is wrong, and 40.6% are “disturbed” by the fact that money was exchanged around their conception. I needed to consider their lived reality within this system, too. 

Related: Should I freeze my eggs?

The egg donation process needed a refresh

As I got deeper into the process, I saw more symptoms of this broken system unfolding. First, the real lack of ethnic diversity among donors, which leaves intended parents without adequate options for growing a family that reflects their background. Finally, the promise of anonymity plastered across sites, a concept increasingly misleading and unrealistic in our hyperconnected world with ubiquitous genetic testing. 

The entire experience felt like a disservice—to myself, to all those going through infertility and to communities like the LGBTQ+ community who rely on donors as an essential part of starting a family. I was fortunate to have my sister freeze her eggs and donate them to me to potentially use later, and even more so to have gotten pregnant on my own without using her eggs after trying post-recovery—but I couldn’t shake the experience. Don’t people going through this (growing) family-building path deserve better?

Related: Does insurance cover family building costs for LGBTQ+ families?

Changing the narrative

At Cofertility, we’re tackling the outdated system and reimagining egg donation as a human-centered, open and empowering experience. By bringing together egg donation and egg freezing—two things that go hand in hand—we’re creating a fertility care and third-party reproduction ecosystem that drives meaningful impact on both sides. 

With our Freeze by Co platform, women can freeze and store their eggs for free when they give half of the eggs retrieved to a family who can’t otherwise conceive. Through our Family by Co vertical, intended parents can match with egg donors looking to support the building of a family. We take a personal, empathic approach to matching and provide educational resources, support tools and a community of other intended parents to everyone in our ecosystem. 

So many of my friends regret not freezing their eggs in their twenties, but the cost prevented them from doing so. We’re honored to change this narrative for women, while simultaneously improving the family building experience. It’s a win-win. But in order to start your freezing process, you first have to match with a family. The sooner you complete your application (and the more robust it is!), the sooner you’ll match and the sooner your own journey can begin.

We all have a fundamental right to health care that puts us first—that gives us autonomy and control over our bodies and our futures. Whichever path you’re on, whether that involves freezing your eggs or finding the right egg donor, you can take our quiz and find your match at Cofertility.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.

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