Bravo Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of New York City

An Expert Weighs In on Brynn Whitfield and Erin Lichy's Egg-Freezing Debate

While in Anguilla, Brynn Whitfield told a story about her experience when she looked into freezing her eggs that Erin Lichy called "a weird lie."

By Jax Miller

Tensions between The Real Housewives of New York City's Erin Lichy and Brynn Whitfield continue, this time about a touchy topic fueling much discussion in Season 14.

How to Watch

Watch The Real Housewives of New York City on Peacock and catch up on the Bravo app

The drama unfolded as the ladies — including Jenna Lyons, Jessel Taank, Ubah Hassan, and Sai De Silva — vacationed during their Anguilla girls’ trip, as seen in Season 14, Episode 10. While together for a tropical beachfront lunch, Sai inquired about Brynn’s dating life, to which Brynn said she spent the summer “husband hunting” (which didn’t land well with Erin following Brynn’s remarks toward Erin’s husband).

“I want someone who wants a family,” Brynn told the other Housewives. “I want to be a mom.”

The Midwestern socialite previously opened up to her third ex-fiancé, Gideon, on RHONY about wanting to freeze her eggs. She said she’d been weighing the idea for several years, adding that “creating a family for myself is the only thing in my life right now that I want the most and don’t have.”

Erin Lichy and Brynn Whitfield Fight Over Egg Freezing Comment

In the most recent episode, Ubah shared her positive experience with freezing her own eggs, something Brynn hadn't seen through, citing hormone injections and costs.

A split image of Erin and Brynn at WWHL in front of a step and repeat.

Brynn also claimed that while filling out an intake form, medical professionals suggested she try embryo freezing as a more successful alternative and required Brynn to provide contact information for a potential biological father.

Brynn added (perhaps as a joke) she “literally” had to scroll through her phone contacts to find a suitable candidate. But if it was a joke, it didn't land well with Erin.

“You go to freeze your eggs, they tell you to get an embryo [and] call somebody on the phone?” Erin said in a side chat with Ubah. “Ubah, that’s a weird lie.”

Erin told RHONY producers, “I’m a girl’s girl, and I have so many girlfriends, and I’ve just never heard of a location asking you to go through your phone contact list and hit up some guys to give you some jizz for an embryo.”

“You say stuff like that, and that’s actually really messed up,” Brynn told Erin. “Why the f--k would I lie about something like that, Erin? Get real.”

Jessel — who has opened up in RHONY Season 14 about her “traumatizing” and “brutal” fertility journey before the birth of her twin sons — said she, too, hadn’t heard of such a back-and-forth between patients and medical professionals.

The Daily Dish spoke with Dr. Amanda Kallen, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine and Adjunct Professor at the Yale School of Medicine to find out if Brynn's claims held water.

What is oocyte vs. embryo cryopreservation?

Dr. Kallen said oocyte cryopreservation (egg-freezing) is when a woman’s eggs are removed from the ovaries and stored for future use, “a way of preserving reproductive ability in women (or individuals with ovaries)” and an alternative for “anyone who isn’t planning pregnancy immediately” but might want to explore their options in the future.

“Embryo freezing entails fertilization of the egg with sperm and freezing the resulting embryo,” Dr. Kallen told The Daily Dish. “Whereas frozen eggs need to be thawed and fertilized with partner or donor sperm for use at a later date.”

Ubah Hassan, Brynn Whitfield and Jessel Taank in Anguilla on The Real Housewives of New York City

Freezing eggs requires the patient to self-inject hormones for an eight-to-13-day period, a span that requires regular bloodwork and ultrasounds “to monitor the ovarian response to the medication,” according to Dr. Kallen. When eggs reach an optimal size, they are removed from the woman’s follicles (the fluid-filled sacs containing the eggs) and then frozen and stored in an embryology lab.

When asked by The Daily Dish if Brynn’s claims that freezing embryos is more successful than freezing eggs, Dr. Kallen said it’s a “two-part answer.” Though some studies show that both have a 97% success rate, she said the difference is that embryos are “farther along” in the process.

“A frozen egg needs to be fertilized, cultured for a few days in the lab, and then the resulting embryo needs to be transferred back into the uterus,” Dr. Kallen explained. “But not all frozen eggs will fertilize well, and not all embryos will continue to grow well in culture, and not all embryos will become a viable pregnancy.”

Dr. Kallen said, “It’s apples to oranges rather than apples to apples.”

"So, if you have equal numbers of eggs and embryos — say five eggs or five embryos — five embryos will be more likely to give you a successful pregnancy, because five eggs are likely not going to translate to five embryos," she continued. 

In Brynn's case, looking at freezing embryos could be an option, especially if she already had a sperm donor in mind.

“If I have a patient with a spouse or long-term partner, and the patient knows she wants a family with that partner, freezing embryos often makes more sense simply because frozen embryos are ready to implant and are closer to the finish line, so to speak, than frozen embryos,” Dr. Kallen told The Daily Dish. “You can even test the embryos to identify any major genetic issues, so if you’ve got frozen genetically-tested embryos, you’re even closer to the finish line at that point.”

Dr. Kallen also said such clinical visits are sometimes “full of information and a bit confusing.”

She did add she's “never heard of a clinic requiring contact information for a potential father or sperm donor” and that such requirements sounded “intrusive and unnecessary” and “irrelevant to the decision to freeze eggs.”

Brynn Whitfield in a clip from RHONY

“If the patient has a male partner, it’s reasonable to discuss whether it’s more appropriate to freeze eggs or embryos, depending on whether it’s a serious [or] long-term relationship,” said Dr. Kallen. “But I would hope a doc wouldn’t insist on contact information for a potential father or donor.”

Dr. Kallen added, however, it's possible Brynn could have misinterpreted the professional’s advice.

“Sometimes, I think I have explained things very clearly, and it turns out I didn’t get my message across as well as I thought,” said Dr. Kallen. “And while I wish it weren’t true, some docs definitely don’t have the bedside manner you’d want them to.”

Is there any hope for Brynn and Erin's friendship?

Brynn and Erin’s debate prompted Brynn to end their seaside lunch and vent to Ubah, Sai, and Jessel about the exchange once they returned to the van. Erin caught up with them, apologizing to Brynn for “using the word 'lie.’”

“It feels like from having so much fun in the sun in the morning to having absolutely no f--king fun at all,” Brynn told RHONY producers. “There’s a part of me that wants to just grab my bags and dip.”

Back at their vacation home, Brynn took a “time out” from Sai’s dinner, but not before visiting Erin while the women got ready. Brynn said she didn’t want Erin to think the afternoon exchange was the reason for her calling it a night, to which Erin said she felt “so bad.”

Brynn became tearful before the pair hugged it out and said their “I love yous."

“Clearly, she’s upset,” said Erin. “This is about her having a baby, and I get it. And I’m really happy that she wasn’t putting the blame on me. I think she realized that it was kind of a miscommunication.”

Watch more of The Real Housewives of New York City on Sundays at 9/8c on Bravo and streaming the next day on Peacock.

Want the latest Bravo updates? Text us for breaking news and more!