Fertility Preservation

Fertility preservation is saving or protecting eggs, embryos, sperms, or other reproductive tissue so that you can have biological children in the future

Why may one need fertility preservation?

Fertility preservation can be important for people with certain medical conditions and life events that affect fertility. These conditions may include:

  • People with a history of exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Women with endometriosis
  • Women with uterine fibroids
  • People about to receive cancer treatment
  • People who are about to take autoimmune disease treatment
  • People suffering from a genetic disease that may affect fertility in future

When should one consider fertility preservation?

One should consider fertility preservation if:

  1. If you are about to receive cancer treatment like chemotherapy or radiotherapy, you should consider freezing your sperms, eggs, or embryos. Some of the treatment modalities of cancer can cause permanent infertility.
  2. If you are in a job with high chances of physical injury (defense and police services), you may choose to freeze your eggs, sperm, or embryos.
  3. You should also consider fertility preservation techniques if you feel that you are still not ready for family and age is not on your side.

What are the most common fertility preservation measures

The most common fertility preservation options for males are:

1. Sperm cryopreservation:

In sperm cryopreservation, a male provides his semen sample. The experts freeze this semen sample. The embryologist then stores the frozen sample by a process called cryopreservation.

2. Gonadal shielding

Radiotherapy, particularly when given for the pelvic area, may harm fertility. The radiotherapists now use modern techniques to restrict the damage caused by radiation. The doctors can also use a lead shield to protect the testicles.

The commonly used fertility preservation options for females are:

1. Embryo cryopreservation

Embryo cryopreservation or embryo freezing is one of the most common and successful fertility preservation techniques for females. Your fertility doctor will first remove eggs from your ovaries. The embryologist then fertilizes the eggs with sperm from your partner or a donor in vitro. This process is called Vitro fertilization. The embryologist then freezes the resulting embryos and stores them for future use.

2. Oocyte cryopreservation

It is similar to embryo cryopreservation. Here the embryologist freezes the unfertilized eggs and stores them for future use.

3. Gonadal shielding

For females receiving radiotherapy, radiotherapist aims radiation over a small area. The females get further protection by covering the pelvic area with a lead shield.

4. Ovarian transposition

Your doctor may perform minor surgery to move the ovaries and the fallopian tubes from the area that is about to receive radiation to the region that will not. Your doctor may relocate your ovaries and fallopian tube to an abdominal area that will not get radiation.