Dear Penny: I Haven’t Met Mr. Right Yet. Do I Spend $8K to Freeze My Eggs?

A woman dreams of a husband and pregnancy.
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Dear Penny,

I’m a 37-year-old female who wants kids. Just after the holidays, I ended a six-year relationship with a man I loved dearly because he decided he didn’t want children. I’m one of four kids and the only one without children. I adore my niece and nephews and always wanted a family, but he was unsure. We were both busy with our careers. I kept thinking he’d eventually come around.

Now I’m thinking of freezing my eggs to buy myself some extra time in hopes of still having one or two children. It would cost me about $8,000. This would be about a third of the money in my savings account. I’m not emotionally ready to start dating yet. I’m also concerned about dating in the middle of a pandemic, knowing it will probably be several months until I’m able to be vaccinated.

I’m now working from home permanently and don’t have a ton of opportunities to meet new people. When I get back into dating, I’m guessing it will be on a dating app, which I’m already dreading. I don’t want to settle for just anyone. Is it wise to use a substantial part of my savings if I can buy myself more time to find a partner?

-Suddenly Single

Dear Single,

You recognized what you really want and that you’d never get that in the relationship you were in. You had the wisdom to not invest any more of your time. That took real strength. I doubt it brings you much comfort to hear right now, but you made the right choice.

Everything I’m about to say is based on a few assumptions: that you’ve consulted with a doctor you trust, that they’ve told you that egg freezing is a viable option for you and that you’ve confirmed the $8,000 price tag.

If all this is true, yes, go ahead and spend $8,000 to freeze your eggs. This absolutely counts as an investment in your future, just one that won’t come with a monetary payout. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get the returns you’re after, but then again, there are no guarantees in investing.

But I want you to think of your $8,000 as only part of your investment.. You have a goal here, which is to meet a partner and have children with them. The pandemic, obviously complicates that. You’ve accepted that this will cost you money. But you’ll also need to invest time and legitimate effort to meet someone once you’ve gotten your COVID-19 vaccines. And quite honestly, that may be harder, at first, than parting with your $8,000.

Let’s set some measurable goals, even if that doesn’t exactly sound romantic It usually isn’t that hard for women to find a date on the apps. So I want you to aim for three dates per month once you can safely do so. These dates can be with three different guys or all with the same guy.

That may sound like a lot. But I’m not telling you to commit three entire evenings a month to a four-course dinner and a movie. I’m asking for three cups of coffee, three glasses of wine or three walks around the park.

I don’t want you settling for any guy who comes along. But we don’t get an unlimited number of dealbreakers when we choose a partner. Invest in the guys whose goals align with yours. Swipe left on any man who’s upfront about not wanting kids on his profile. Same goes for all the guys who say they want kids someday but are looking for something casual.

But think, too, about the things that really don’t matter. Be open to the guys who are a little shorter or older or younger or balder than you want — but who seem like nice people who want the same things you do.

Be open about your goals. Specify on your profile that you want kids. Don’t invest your time on someone hoping that he’ll eventually come around on this. There is no middle ground on having children.

I understand why it makes you nervous to spend a substantial part of your savings here. So often, we think of our savings as falling in two buckets: an emergency fund and retirement, without consideration for all of life’s other needs. But investing part to build a family someday is a perfectly legitimate use of your savings. As long as you’re willing to invest the time, this is money well spent.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].