Why Congresswoman Sara Jacobs Is Sharing Her Egg Freezing Journey With the World

It’s a sign of the times: Over the weekend, Sara Jacobs became the rare sitting congresswoman to speak publicly about a procedure most of her (older, male) colleagues have never had to consider—freezing her eggs. At 32, Jacobs is the second youngest woman in Congress, a historically homogeneous governing body that’s only recently begun to diversify. With those changing demographics comes a wide range of lived experiences, and more representatives who understand what it’s like to enter a pivotal moment in your career during the same years you’re traditionally expected to start a family. “As soon as I decided I was going to freeze my eggs while I was in Congress, I knew I wanted to talk about it,” she tells “It’s such a big topic of conversation among my peers and yet not something I’d heard many leaders discuss.”

Jacobs, who started the process in August, knows she’s in a privileged position. The California congresswoman has a partner and says she would financially be able to take care of a child right now. (Jacobs, whose job allows her to choose an insurance plan from the DC exchange, is also paying for the treatment, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, out of pocket.) “I want to focus on my career and making the most impact I can,” she says. “I wanted to make sure I could preserve the option to choose to have a kid when it felt right.” Being publicly vulnerable about her choice is hard, she says, especially as a “young woman who gets a lot of vitriol on the internet.” But she hopes to use her platform to help other prospective parents feel better about the choices they may be making in their own lives.

Below, Jacobs shares even more about her experience, including the shots and pills that come with the procedure, and how freezing her eggs has allowed her to rethink what it means to be a woman in her 30s.

Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you first decide to freeze your eggs?

I know I want to be a mom one day. I’m one of four kids. My parents are each one of four kids. So I always knew I wanted to be a parent, and I wanted to have a fulfilling career and I wanted to make a difference. I’d been thinking about freezing my eggs since my late 20s, and even talked to a doctor, but the timing didn’t work out. I actually thought about doing it right after the primary [election in 2020], but then COVID happened. After I got elected, and it seemed like COVID was getting a little better, I talked to my OB-GYN. She said that given my age, it would probably be a good time to start talking to the fertility doctor again and trying to time out when would work. While I was hoping this would be a quiet August recess in an off-election year, I clearly did not time that well, because it’s been anything but.

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Why do you think it’s important that we have people in power talking about procedures like egg freezing?

First, there’s the need to destigmatize and demystify. A lot of people don’t know this is an option, and a lot of people, if they are considering it, think they’re the only one going through it. There’s this idea that it’s a sad choice to make, whereas I think it’s incredibly empowering. I feel like I’m taking control of my life and my agency and choosing what is right for me.

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Second, we need better policy. I’m a co-sponsor of a bill in Congress that would mandate that all insurance plans cover the full range of fertility treatments. It’s very expensive. I’m very fortunate that I’m able to pay for it out of pocket, but it shouldn’t only be for people who can afford it. Egg freezing is not covered by the VA, and egg freezing and IVF are not covered by TRICARE or Medicaid. There are some states that have started to pass laws to cover fertility treatment, but for the most part, it’s still really inaccessible for too many people. And infertility doesn’t discriminate by socioeconomic status, only access to fertility treatment does. So we need better policy, and I think we’ve really seen that this past week with the ruling in Texas. It’s about making sure prospective parents can choose when and if to have a family. That means delaying a pregnancy, that means having a pregnancy that’s healthy and successful, or not having a pregnancy at all. That full range of options should be what we, as policymakers, are pushing to make more available. And we know, if anything, it’s getting harder and harder for people to access.

“There’s this idea that it’s a sad choice to make, whereas I think it’s incredibly empowering.”

As the makeup of Congress slowly changes, do you find this is a conversation happening among your colleagues?

Definitely. There’s a few of us young women in Congress, and I definitely talk to most of them about what I’m going through and, I don’t want to speak for them, but [there are] varying degrees of people considering or not considering [egg freezing]. But I’ve also been talking to older members of Congress for whom this wasn’t an option or who didn’t know that this existed. I was explaining to a lot of my colleagues about this process and why I decided to do it. I’m hoping that opens up some more policy advocates as well.

You told CNN that the hormonal pills you need to take for the procedure make you feel like you’re going through puberty. How has that affected your day-to-day life and, more specifically, your work life?

I don’t ever want anyone to tell me that women are too emotional to be leaders ever again, because I’m quite literally as hormonal as a woman can ever be, and there are still many men I deal with who are acting from a much more emotional, irrational perspective than I am.

Obviously, there were some hard days, and now I have to do shots three times a day. My body definitely hurts. We had the National Defense Authorization Act markup this past week, which was 16 hours, I think. That was hard to try and sit there when I was feeling so uncomfortable in my body. But you find ways to do it. Just like anyone, from the outside, it looks really hard. Then when you’re doing it, you figure out a way, just like so many people who are in the workplace.

While going through this process, was there anything you learned about egg freezing that made you rethink some of the laws that are currently in place?

There are so many different components. There’s the actual procedure to extract the eggs and freeze them, but then there’s the lead up to it with the shots and the medicine and all of the blood draws and ultrasounds. In some states that have laws that supposedly cover fertility treatments, when they say they cover egg freezing, what they mean is the actual yearly fee you pay to store your eggs, not all the medicine and everything that goes into being able to freeze your eggs. For instance, I was talking to someone who has all of her ultrasounds covered, but not the medicine. I think it’s figuring out how to write the language the right way so you’re actually including the full procedure and not just one part of it.

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How are you feeling now that you’ve made the decision and are in the thick of the process?

There are definitely some days that are harder than others. The shots are not enjoyable for sure. But I feel really confident in my decision and really empowered and grateful that I’m able to make this choice. As a young woman, I remember having so much inadvertent or advertent messaging about like, “After you turn 36, you won’t be able to have a kid. So you’ve got to make sure you do everything before you’re 36.” This fixation on youth. I think this just helps me realize there’s life after 36. I’ll be able to make the choices I want to make. I don’t need to feel so time-pressured in a way I don’t feel like my male peers are. I’ve also learned a lot about reproduction from going through this process. It’s not true that all of a sudden you can’t have a kid anymore after 36. According to my doctor, every year is a little bit harder to have a kid than the year before, but there’s no cliff, there’s no magic number. That’s something I wish I’d known in my 20s when my friends and I would think about our careers and be so worried about being able to do everything we wanted.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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