Fertility preservation is the process by which eggs, sperm, or embryos are stored for future use. This will allow a person to potentially have a biological child in the future.
Who Should Preserve Their Fertility?
- Cancer Patients. Fertility preservation is done before Chemotherapy or radiation because these types of cancer treatments can be harmful to eggs and sperm. These types of treatments can also cause infertility. Therefore, it is important to think about preserving fertility before chemotherapy and or radiation is performed.
- Patients who have conditions that can worsen over time. Fertility preservation is also done for patients who have health issues, such as endometriosis. Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition that can Cause infertility and worsen over time. In patients with endometriosis who aren’t ready to start a family it is important to think about preserving fertility whether it means to freeze eggs or embryos for future use.
- Young, healthy women. Fertility does decline with age. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have and will continue to lose eggs as they go through life. Many women are delaying childbearing and this has caused an increase in infertility. It is important for women who are not yet ready to start a family to think about freezing eggs when they are younger. While eggs can be frozen at any age it is more successful when the age of the woman is 35 years or younger.
What does the process look like?
During the egg freezing process, a patient is given hormones to help produce multiple eggs. These hormones are given in the form of daily injections for about 10 -12 days. During this period, the patient is seen for several scans and bloodwork to determine when the eggs are ready to be harvested. Once the eggs are ready, the eggs are then harvested via a simple procedure and then frozen for future use.
Once the patient is ready to use the eggs, the eggs are then thawed and fertilized with sperm To create embryos. The embryos are then grown out in culture for 5 days and once ready are transferred back into the patient. Excess embryos would then be frozen for future use.