Fertility preservation options have increased or improved over the past several decades. If you’re considering preserving your fertility, the first step is understanding the options and whether one of them is right for you.
Start a Family When it’s Right for You
What is Fertility Preservation?
Fertility preservation helps individuals save or protect eggs, sperm, embryos, or reproductive tissue (including testicular and ovarian tissue). Those materials are carefully frozen and stored until the individual, or couple, is ready to start a biological family.
Who is a Candidate for Fertility Preservation?
Generally, you may want to consider fertility preservation if you are getting ready to start a medical treatment that may negatively impact your future fertility. Examples of such treatment include chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery that involves your reproductive organs. Additionally, some individuals who are not yet ready to build a family but know that their reproductive window is narrowing may choose to freeze eggs to allow for the possibility of future attempts at pregnancy at an older age.
What Fertility Preservation Treatments are Available?
Once we have a clear picture of your health and fertility, we will help you choose the fertility preservation treatment that’s right for you. That may include:
- Egg freezing. Freezing your eggs (also called oocyte cryopreservation) may be a good option if you don’t have a male partner to fertilize eggs or you’re not yet ready to select a donor. We will stimulate your ovaries to help multiple eggs mature and then retrieve them through an outpatient procedure known as an oocyte retrieval. The eggs can then be stored for future pregnancy attempts.
- Embryo freezing. Embryo freezing is a form of in vitro fertilization (IVF); it involves taking medication to help the ovaries develop mature eggs, undergoing an outpatient egg retrieval to remove the mature eggs from the ovaries, and fertilizing the eggs with sperm to form an embryo. The embryos can be stored for future pregnancy attempts.
- Fertility preserving surgery. If you have a medical condition, including cancer, and require surgery, there are approaches that can help preserve your fertility. Your reproductive endocrinologist will work closely with your surgeon to help determine if you are a good candidate.
- Ovarian tissue cryopreservation. Individuals who need immediate surgery to treat cancer, or young girls preparing to start cancer treatment may consider freezing ovarian tissue. During a minimally invasive procedure, we remove the ovarian tissue where eggs are located. The tissue is frozen until you’re ready to use it.
- Sperm freezing. Men who desire to preserve their fertility for medical or non-medical reasons can freeze sperm that can later be thawed and used for either intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).