If you’d like to have a child but don’t feel like now is the right time, you can protect your ability to conceive later through fertility preservation. Today, the popularity of fertility preservation is on the rise, with the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology estimating that there were about 12,438 frozen eggs in 2020, up from 7,193 in 2016.
What is Fertility Preservation?
Both women and men with conditions that negatively impact their fertility can benefit from fertility preservation which helps save and protect eggs, embryos, sperm, and reproductive tissues. This allows time to focus on careers, build financial stability, and undergo impactful medical treatments without worrying about losing the ability to have a family in the future. Let’s discuss the benefits and techniques of fertility preservation.
Reasons to Preserve Your Fertility
Here are a few situations in which you, or you together with your partner, may consider preserving your fertility.
To Build a Future Family
If now is not the right time, egg freezing and other techniques could reduce the risk of future fertility problems. Studies reveal that aging affects fertility, and if you wish to delay having a child until your early 40s, you may want to consider egg freezing to save your good quality “youthful” eggs.
To Pursue a Career
Pursuing career goals requires tremendous focus, energy, passion, and devotion. Raising a family can also be quite taxing, and mixing the two can often be overwhelming. Delaying pregnancy via egg freezing is a smart, viable option.
To Reduce the Risk of Medical Treatment
Your future fertility could be at risk if you have certain illnesses and conditions that require certain medications or procedures. Some of the conditions and treatments that can affect your fertility include:
- Cancer: Cancer and related treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cancer surgery can impact your fertility.
- Autoimmune diseases: Diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can cause fertility problems.
- Reproductive health conditions: Conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids can impact your ability to conceive in future.
- Transgender care: Gender-affirming treatments can impact a person’s reproductive abilities.
If you live with any of the above conditions, preserving embryos, eggs or sperm can be ideal options prior to medical treatment.
To Find the Right Partner
If you know that you want to have children but haven’t found the right partner yet, egg freezing can buy you time. Relationships need time to mature. Declining fertility can often exert too much pressure on available time, undermining the foundations of early relationships. Fertility preservation techniques can help relieve this pressure, allowing relationships to grow and ensuring both partners are ready to raise a family.
Four Fertility Preservation Methods for Women
There are several options available for women to preserve their fertility, and your doctor will choose the ideal method based on factors such as age and health conditions. Possible options include:
This method involves using fertility drugs that stimulate ovaries to produce eggs. Your doctor harvests your eggs and use your partner’s sperm to fertilize them in an IVF lab to create embryos. The embryos are then frozen until you’re ready to have a baby and then via a frozen embryo transfer (FET), your embryos are thawed and placed into your uterus.
If you don’t have a partner or aren’t yet ready to have a baby for any of the reasons stated here, you can freeze and fertilize your eggs via a similar process. Your doctor injects drugs that stimulate your ovaries to make eggs that are then harvested and frozen until the time you are ready to have them fertilized. Once you are ready to conceive, your eggs are thawed and fertilized with your partner’s sperm in an IVF lab.
Freezing Ovarian Tissue
Freezing ovarian tissue is the most preferred method for those undergoing medical treatments that can impact their fertility, including chemotherapy. During this procedure, your doctor makes a small incision to remove a portion of the ovarian tissue, which is then frozen in a process called ovarian tissue cryopreservation. The tissue is put back once your treatment is complete. Once the ovarian tissue starts working normally, the ovaries will continue producing eggs.
Ovarian transposition can help protect your ovaries from radiation treatment. During the procedure, your doctor separates one or both of our ovaries and fallopian tubes from your uterus, and moves them to the wall of your abdomen away from the treatment area.
Male Fertility Preservation
The following are some of the fertility preservation techniques for men and people designated male at birth:
- Radiation shielding: The doctor limits the radiation exposure to the testicles by literally “shielding” them with a lead shield during radiation treatments.
- Sperm freezing: This technique involves freezing and storing a sample of a man’s semen. Prepared sperm are placed into a special freezing solution in small vials that are then stored in freezers that contain liquid nitrogen.
- Testicular tissue freezing: (rare and unique cases for this option) This process involves freezing testicular tissues from boys who have not gone through puberty to save for future infertility treatment. Tissues that may contain cells that make sperm are removed from the testicles before being frozen and stored.
Schedule a Fertility Consult with RISE
For many women and men, having a child of their own may need to be delayed due to career constraints, medical procedures, or because the timing just isn’t right. RISE Fertility provides effective solutions that empower you to take control of your future. We are committed to helping men and women preserve their fertility until they are ready to conceive and start a family.
Whether you have been struggling to get pregnant or wish to preserve your fertility for the future, a consultation with a RISE Fertility physician is the perfect place to start. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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