What Is Fertility Preservation?
Reproductive science has remarkably advanced the options for us when we might choose to delay or place a hold on becoming parents. With fertility preservation, the option to freeze embryos, eggs or sperm is available for individuals that are looking to have future access to start a family.
There are a few reasons why you might opt for fertility preservation:
- There may be a medical procedure that is of higher priority and will require a long recovery period.
- Cancer treatment may compromise germ cell numbers and quality, prevent pregnancy and the outlook for treatment may require a delay in starting a family.
- There may have been exposure to chemicals that may have been toxic or damaging to the reproductive organs while in the military or as a result of a work environment.
- Prefer a family started later in life due to career choices, employment limitations, and/or age.
- Embryos– the most common option is freezing embryos. After an IVF cycle, there may be surplus embryos available for future use. These embryos would be ‘cryopreserved’.
- Oocytes– female patients may choose to freeze their unfertilized eggs, ‘oocytes’, to be thawed and available for fertilization by either partner’s sperm or donated sperm in the future. (please refer to :quality and quantity of eggs with aging)
- Sperm– male patients, who may be facing medical procedures, deployment limitations, or other conditions that may affect the use of their semen for fertilization, may be candidates for cryopreservation.
Female patients may choose to freeze their unfertilized eggs, ‘oocytes’, for future use because if she is not ready for family yet. Cryopreserved eggs can be thawed and available for fertilization by either a partner’s sperm or donated sperm in the future.