My Frozen Eggs Failed Me: What I Would Have Done Differently

posted by Brigitte Adams April 11, 2017
my frozen eggs did not work

Pregnant Today, Gone Tomorrow

Have you ever cried like a wild animal?

Scratched your face so hard it bled?

Chopped off your hair in a state of rage?

Well, I did on March 6th.  That was the day I found out the my positive pregnancy test was invalid.  Just two days earlier my mom and I had been discussing stroller types and baby names. I was pregnant!  My 1 viable embryo from 11 frozen eggs had beat the 50/50 coin toss odds and implanted successfully. Freezing my eggs, depleting my savings, accepting single motherhood, moving out of the city I loved to be closer to my family, having fibroid and hip surgery – all of that had been worth it. 

I was over the moon…for 48 hours.

Earlier that day I had gone in for my second pregnancy test to ensure my beta hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels were rising adequately.  Blood testing had become routine for me.  Sit in chair. Pull up sleeve.  Look away.  Slap bandage on.  Go home.  Of course, my numbers would rise. My 1 fighter embryo had overcome the odds and I was finally going to be a mother. 

You Did Everything Right

My clinic called a few hours later to tell me that my hCG levels had not doubled like they were supposed to, but had in fact dropped from 90 to 78.  A decline meant I had had a biochemical pregnancy.  My embryo had implanted successfully thus producing the pregnancy ‘chemical’, hCG, and then stopped growing. 

And, just like that my dreams of ever having a biological child, like the embryo inside me, were dead. 


Dr. Grifo from NYU Fertility, though not my own Doctor, has been my rock over the past few years wrote me: “So sorry. You did everything right. You could not have changed this.”

Intellectually, I knew this was true.  I froze in the “first wave” of egg freezers taking my chances on a procedure that was still labeled experimental. Emotionally, however, I was NOT ready to accept the situation.

Why did that one embryo test PGS normal? 

Why did it implant successfully? 

Why did I get a positive pregnancy result? 

Why did I even freeze my eggs?

Regrets, I’ve had a few

You never know how you are going to react to something until your in it – down deep in the pile of crap that you have to climb yourself out of.  When my ex-husband told me he was having a second child my struggle to continue forward was kicked back a few rungs.  You left him.  You could have had  all of that, but you gave it up.  You chose divorce.  You chose maybe never meeting someone who loved you as much as he did.  Only YOU are to blame for being single and childless at 44 years old. 

YOU, YOU, YOU did this to yourself!

Freeze, Retrieve, Relax?

We are bombarded with egg freezing messaging like: “Smart Women Freeze,” “Take Charge of Your Fertility,”  “Freeze your eggs, Freeze your careers.”  It sounds so simple.

Find a clinic, shell out a lot of cash, stimulate the hell out of your ovaries, freeze a bunch of eggs and get on with you life.  Relax.  We got you covered.  No worries.

Freezing your eggs is easy. You’re in this sort of Disneyland world of fertility where everything’s possible. There’s no next step to it. You’re done, you compartmentalize it, you move on with your life.  Things get hard when you are actually moving onto Step 2 and completing the process.  Now you are on the wild west of IVF – a world of no absolutes.

You never knew that this cruel place existed, because you froze your eggs in a minimalist clinic with a waiting room full of optimistic, empowered women proactively taking control of their fertility.  You did not sit next to the woman who has gone through 2 rounds of IUI and 5 rounds of IVF.   Maybe if she had frozen her eggs she might not be sitting there today. Maybe. Maybe not. Egg freezing is not a guarantee.   

Am I Anti-Egg Freezing?

The week after my failed FET (frozen embryo transfer) I wrote this to a friend:

I don’t feel that I can maintain Eggsurance in good faith. I am disgusted by the egg freezing process and the hopes I pinned on it

The girl who starts the first egg freezing website and becomes egg freezing’s poster child fails with her frozen eggs.  It was a cruel irony. I felt like a fraud. How could I champion something that didn’t even work me for?  These thoughts stuck with me for a while.  I was ready to close of shop and abandon the site and telling the rest of my story.

I realized that bottling up my egg freezing experience would not help.  As more and more women come back to use their frozen eggs, not everyone, like myself, will be successful.  We will hear more stories like mine that will, hopefully, help women set realistic expectations. 

I am by no means anti-egg freezing, but today’s commoditization of egg freezing concerns me deeply as clinics are failing to transparently present egg freezing risks, data and success rates (or lack there of).

If you take anything away from my story, please become your own advocate.  These are your eggs, your future child so: ask the questions, do your homework, find a Doctor you like, make sure the lab is top notch and remember that freezing your eggs is a possibility of a future child – not a guarantee.

What I would have done differently?

Measured my AMH and FSH levels annually after age 32

I never knew that these tests existed.  Hell, at the time, I didn’t even know what an ovarian reserve was!  If I had tracked my results, I would have know that my fertility window was quickly waning instead of naively believing that I still had time.

Froze my eggs earlier

I recently went back to my records from 2011 to review my AMH, FSH, and antral follicle count.  The results threw me for a loop –  I had no clue how bad they really were.  Had I been proactively tracking my fertility potential, I would not have waited so long to freeze my eggs. 

Frozen two (or three) rounds

I only froze one round of eggs.  My clinic never advised another round.  In retrospect, my Doctor never even had a regroup with me to discuss my retrieval results.  At the time 11 eggs seemed adequate, however I had no clue about attrition rates from thawing, to fertilizing, to creating 5-day blastocysts.  My eggs nosed dived from 11, to 9, to 6, to 1 over the course of a week.  Looking back, a second round would have been a no brainer (and cheaper in the long run).

Frozen embryos Too

Had I moved forward with another round and made some embryos, I would have had a more realistic understanding of my chances of pregnancy.  A batch of frozen eggs really doesn’t tell you anything as there is no way to evaluate egg quality.  Embryos, on the other hand, can be graded to indicate their likelihood of success.  Given my defrost outcome, freezing embryos would have provided me proof that my eggs were if very poor quality.

Tried to get pregnant sooner

I waited three years from the time I decided to become a single mom to the time I actually started the defrost process.  My rational was that I needed to get my career settled in a new city before I could even contemplate pregnancy.  I ended up leaving that job after 16 months so my getting settled goal was pointless. You are never “settled” in a career anymore. I wish I had pushed forward earlier and let my career take a step back.

Stopped waiting for Mr. Right

I kept hoping that I’d meet him and ICIS his sperm into my frozen eggs then ride off into the sunset.  Love is messy and never ever comes according to your timeline. Instead of waiting for someone to fit all the pieces of my life together, I wish I had had enough courage to embrace single motherhood earlier.


Dawn May 9, 2017 at 5:44 am

You are awesome, and funny, and honest. Thank you for telling this real and truthful story.

Jane July 2, 2017 at 8:28 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about what has happened. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I feel like there is not enough information at all about fertility issues, as you point out. Thanks so much for this site and the information you provide on it. Please don’t beat yourself up. I wish you all the best and hope you feel happier soon.

Melanie August 19, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Thank you for sharing. You have helped many with your honesty.

Brigitte Adams September 21, 2017 at 8:55 pm

You are very welcome! It’s a daunting journey and I wish more women were candid and vocal about their path to motherhood.

Barbara September 18, 2017 at 3:33 am

Thank you so much for telling your story. I am 40, had 10 eggs frozen last year following one cycle. Was contemplating doing it again. You’ve made up my mind for me.

Brigitte Adams September 21, 2017 at 8:54 pm

Thanks Barbara, I am glad that my experience helped you make up your mind. Egg freezing is evolving so quickly, however not many women have actually come back to use their frozen eggs. Lack of data, transparency makes decision making difficult and, as I have found, a fertility journey does not typically follow a straight path. Good egg thoughts for your 2nd cycle! Brigitte

Ming January 27, 2018 at 2:24 am

Thank you so much for telling your story. It really helps to hear about the process, the ups and downs, firsthand from another woman who’s actually been through the hell. I’m 36, living in Asia and my fiance asked if “we could be just friends” a few weeks ago. Looking at timelines, I’ve been thinking a lot about egg freezing but it’s not very common here. IVF is common but egg freezing as a standalone (WITHOUT immediate IVF) – not so much. I really appreciate how you’ve shared your thoughts on the things you would have done differently had you known everything you now know. It makes such a huge difference to me. And to many others like me in sure.

Brigitte Adams January 27, 2018 at 11:16 am

Ming, Thank you. It was very hard to write about the last year, but I decided to be open about my story in the hopes that it might help other women understand the full egg freezing journey. Many, many things I would have done differently. I urge you to get your ovarian reserve tested (resting follicle count, AMH & FSH day 3 blood tests) so you have a baseline idea. You are NOT alone! Hang in there.

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Freezing My Eggs February 13, 2018 at 5:20 am

[…] nothing about the likelihood of fertilization and a successful to-term pregnancy. (And as this heartbreaking story demonstrates — it is disappointment in those final stages that can be the most traumatic and […]

Lori February 14, 2018 at 10:53 am

Thank you so much for being vulnerable and sharing your experiences. I am 42 and single, debating on how to proceed (e.g. egg freezing, donor, embryo adoption). There is not much information out there and we need more women to share their experiences.

Brigitte Adams February 14, 2018 at 11:51 am

Lori, I know exactly how you are feeling… my advice is don’t wait until you are 45 like me. Put the wheels in motion now as the fertility journey is never (or extremely rarely) a linear one!

LB April 24, 2018 at 8:33 am

Thank you for sharing. I am currently going through a similar journey and to be honest i thought of it only as a medical procedure before. In reality it is very different. I have realised that perhaps i should have frozen 40 eggs or more! At 40 i had my one and only child, healthy and no problems conceiving. I left my partner and at 41/42 froze 25 eggs over two rounds. I had good amh and antral follicle count. But now at 43 and decided it is now or never, and deciding to use a donor, it seems that most are bad eggs. Even if one blastocyst (one from 10 which made it to day 5) passes the genetic screening, who says it will implant and become a baby. It is such a lottery, but I am fortunate that i’m able to buy a ticket. I wish i had the backbone to have done this in my mid-thirties and would encourage others to just do it.

Brigitte Adams April 24, 2018 at 8:54 pm

LB – thanks for sharing! Agree – I wish I had started much much earlier and also put a plan c in action. Had I know when I froze my eggs that I would be placing all my bets on 1 viable embryo, I would have done many things differently. Hopeful stories like ours convince women in their mid-30s to take earlier, more proactive actions (I wish I had!)

LB May 16, 2018 at 7:40 pm

Hi Brigitte, I thought I would give you an update. My genetically tested euploid 5 day blastocyst didn’t implant. My IVF clinic had a non-medical doctor/researcher assess my ovulation blood results and set the FET date. No checks were made by a doctor. To cut a long story short they transferred a 5 day blastocyst on day 2.5 post ovulation, which would may the implantation timing very off. Full medical reports haven’t been given. I naively thought that they had systems in place so these errors couldn’t be made and there were adequate reviews by ‘thinking’ doctors. I am also researching whether growing embryos to this stage is the best option, perhaps day 4 or even day 3. I know this isn’t what I signed up for. They should have treated this healthy embryo as my last opportunity to have a baby and made sure my body was 100% ready to accept the transfer.

Brigitte Adams May 18, 2018 at 12:33 pm

LB, Thanks for your update. I am so very sorry.

Unfortunately, this is so similar to my story. March 8th, 2018 was the day I found out my ONLY viable embryo had arrested (chemical pregnancy) after successful implantation 48 hours earlier. I know the pain, frustration, anger and disappoint you are feeling. You did everything you could… remember egg freezing is still a new technology and the growth curve is steep — much steeper than I ever anticipate. Pls continue to keep me posted. My thoughts are with you, Brigitte

Agustina April 30, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Hi Brigitte and all the readers. greetings from Buenos Aires and thank you for sharing your experience. I am early 37 and about to freeze my eggs. I wish I had done it before 35. I am not 100% sure to do it, my eggs might wont work later. I dont even know if I want to be a mom. Thanks to your post I will ask about second round. I have a comment,I know you regret many things but you feel that now, but in the past you were living other things, your priorities or life were different and you had made the right decisions at that time. Now it is different but i think you shoudnt blame yourself!!! Thanks and love.

Brigitte Adams May 3, 2018 at 11:22 am

Agustina, Many thanks for your note! I received it at just the right time – I was hospitalized overnight for gestational hypertension (high blood pressure).
I am 35 weeks pregnant!! Back home now, and all good. I wish you much luck on your egg journey…pls keep me posted on your outcome. And, if you can swing it I highly recommend 2 rounds. One of my biggest regrets. Brigitte

Deborah May 22, 2018 at 4:34 am

Bridgette thanks for sharing. Would you now consider donor eggs?

Brigitte Adams May 22, 2018 at 10:27 am

Deborah, I DID use an egg donor and have a 2 week old girl named Georgie!

I am started to write about it now… did not feel ready to openly share earlier.
See this post:

Thanks for reaching out, Brigitte

Angela May 20, 2019 at 4:08 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. I am 35 yrs old and looked into egg freezing in late 2017 after the end of a 4 yr relationship. Unfortunately I discovered I have only one functioning ovary and very low AMH. After 3 retrievals I was able to bank 13 eggs. I tried another retrieval last month, but even at the highest medication dose I didn’t respond well enough to make it to retrieval. I’m plannnng to try another cycle soon. My original goal was 20 eggs. In the meantime, I have met and fallen in love with someone. He is 33 and not ready to start a family for another few years (although I am ready now). Do you have any advice? Should I try a few more retrievals until I reach my goal? Should I convince my boyfriend to fertilize any eggs that are retrieved in future rounds (or any of the eggs I already have banked)? Unfortunately I am running out of time to decide what to do since my ovarian reserve is poor and only getting worse. I am hoping you have some insight based on your experience. Thank you.

Brigitte Adams July 16, 2019 at 7:03 pm

Angela, I wish that I had some insight for you as I know how stressed out you must be right now. Have a very candid conversation with your doctor and have her/him help weigh your options of another round and potential retrieval count, as well as expectations for a successful pregnancy.
Congrats on meeting an amazing guy… makes me hopeful! However, if I were you I would steer clear of conversation with your new boyfriend until the relationship is super solid. Having the conversation too early may change the dynamics of your relationship.

Ali June 12, 2019 at 11:11 pm

I agree with all your regrets/advice!


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