Zuri Hall On Melting The Stigma Around Egg Freezing

The world of fertility can often feel isolating. Zuri Hall, Emmy Award-winning TV host, actress, and producer, no longer wants women to walk that road alone. Below, Hall chronicles her family planning journey through an unexpected route she never imagined taking: egg freezing. She opens up about the process and reflects on the woman she became along the way.

I’ve always wanted to be a mother. Since my teenage years, I’ve also always been extremely ambitious and career-driven. Although I had a couple of long-term relationships in my 20s, my top priority was not walking down the aisle (yet!) or dating to settle down with my “forever” person. I had big dreams, and pursuing them at full force took up so much of my energy and effort. I ended up staying in relationships that I knew, deep down, weren’t quite right for me longer than I’d like to admit. The “biological clock” pressure wasn’t a narrative I related to, although some of my friends were starting to feel it by our late 20s. 

But when I ended a long-term relationship as my 30th birthday approached, I started to seriously consider egg freezing. I wasn’t feeling the urgency, but thought it would be smart to look into it as I started thinking intentionally and thoughtfully about my future. I knew I desired to be a wife and mother, even though it didn’t need to happen immediately. I started researching what it took to freeze my eggs. However, the healthcare system made everything so complicated. It was one phone call after the next. Even after I learned that my employer would cover the cost of egg freezing, I still procrastinated. It was overwhelming to figure out health insurance and how to efficiently utilize the benefits—especially while juggling a busy schedule and a demanding workload. I told myself I could freeze my eggs later if needed, but “later” turned into five more years.

Motherhood is one of the things I want most in life—I had to do whatever I could in my power to help protect that choice.

After another long-term relationship ended in my early 30s, I knew it was time to get serious about this process. The chances of successful, high-yield egg retrievals decrease with age. I had to get honest with myself about my timeline. I decided to take my hope of motherhood as seriously as I’ve always taken my professional pursuits. Motherhood is one of the things I want most in life—I had to do whatever I could in my power to help protect that choice. 

 In the fall of 2023, I decided to move forward with the egg freezing process. I have no regrets, but knowing what I know now, I would have started the process earlier. Since I am no longer an employee of the company that would have covered the procedure in the same capacity, I had to pay for the process myself. While I’m so blessed and thankful for the privilege of being able to afford the process, it costs a lot, approximately $7,000 per cycle and an additional $5,000 to $6,000 for meds each cycle.

Egg freezing is nothing to be ashamed of. For me, this is a big act of self-love.

The actual process felt empowering. With every doctor visit, I felt more in control of my future and proud of myself for caring enough to prioritize it. The process was also a bit isolating on occasion. I had to give myself self-administered shots for two weeks before going into the doctor’s office for retrieval. I was injecting myself with three to four different shots every single night. Luckily, the actual retrieval part is quick—you’re only knocked out for about twenty to thirty minutes. The recovery afterward mostly requires you to take it easy and rest while the last of the anesthesia wears off. 

Unfortunately, I realized that women can often feel shame around this topic. It wasn’t until I started publicly sharing my family planning journey that friends opened up about their personal journeys. Egg freezing is nothing to be ashamed of. For me, this is a big act of self-love. There is a stigma that you are not woman enough if you freeze your eggs, which keeps a lot of women in the shadows. It’s simply not true. Thankfully, I have a great support network. My mother is one of my best friends; some nights, she was on FaceTime with me when I did the shots. My best friends would check in to make sure I was doing okay, and I’ve bonded with new women in Los Angeles as they share their own fertility journeys and advice with me.

This journey has reminded me of how tenacious I’ve always been in pursuit of the desires of my heart. I always go after what I want. Even though I’m going through the biological hoops of one route to motherhood, it’s also got me thinking about what it truly means to be a mother—emotionally, energetically, and relationally—and what type of mother I want to be. It’s been an opportunity to cultivate more self-reflection, clarity, and intention. Another upside of freezing my eggs is the pressure it has taken off of dating. Egg freezing has given me the gift of peace of mind. I don’t have to settle or rush into anything. I can continue to enjoy getting to know new people while working on myself and curating a lifestyle that will support this next chapter when God sees fit to guide me into it. 

Many women can relate to this: throughout my 20s, I had to operate in my masculine energy much more than I realized—it was necessary to succeed in a male-dominated industry. I love that now I’m leaning into a softer life and intentionally embracing my femininity. I’m nourishing my body as a vessel that can bring forth children. It all feels so good. This entire process was so worth it, and I’m thrilled to say that by the end of this month, I will have completed three successful egg retrieval cycles!

My hope for other women is to tap into resources like KindBody and Modern Fertility. I also have great discussions with fertility experts and thought leaders on my podcast, Hot Happy Mess. If egg freezing is something that you’re curious about, then, at the minimum, start today with the research. We have incredible resources and science at our fingertips to help us realize our family-planning dreams. The old saying goes: “A year from now, you will wish you’d started today.” I’m a big woman of faith, and I also believe God helps those who help themselves. This process has been one giant, empowering step up a staircase I can’t see the entirety of, but my heart is full of gratitude and peace as I walk up it with faith.  

—Zuri Hall as told to Dominique Jackson

This interview was conducted in February 2024 and has been edited and condensed for clarity.

This feature is part of The Village Issue. Read more about the gamut of our most cherished relationships here.

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