In case you’re not ready to start a family yet, but want to increase your chances of falling pregnant at a more advanced maternal age, freezing your eggs is an option. Fertility preservation may also be relevant to you, if serious illness or the treatment of a condition has damaged your fertility or affected your chances of conceiving naturally.
Female fertility preservation
In other cases, fertility preservation is explored and used, simply because as a woman you have not found a partner. Or you are simply not ready. Other reasons to look into female fertility preservation include the timing of treatment for a serious illness that you may need to undergo, which may damage your fertility in the future.
Sperm freezing for medical reasonsWhen you are about to undergo cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, your sperm can be damaged. Cancer therapy sessions can damage your sperm quantity, sperm quality and DNA structure.
Sperm freezing for social reasonsIn some cases, sperm freezing is done for social or professional reasons. During an IVF treatment cycle it is not uncommon that the male partner cannot be present on the day of the surgery (when a fresh sperm sample is normally used to fertilise the harvested eggs). In this case, a frozen sample will be thawed and used to fertilise the retrieved eggs.
Before sperm is frozen, you will undergo a few tests to screen for infectious diseases such as hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis. You will also give a written consent to the fertility clinic to store your sperm. In most cases you will produce a fresh sample of semen at the fertility clinic which will then be frozen and stored in a storage tank that contains liquid nitrogen. In some cases, men prefer to produce the semen sample at home. The options depend on the applicable procedures at your local fertility clinic, and they will be discussed during your visit with the fertility specialist. If you are unable to produce a sperm sample, a testicular biopsy may be performed at your clinic, to collect sperm directly from your testicles using a needle.
Some cancer treatments may damage your ovaries and decrease your ovarian reserve. Cancer treatment may also impact your hormone production and the communication between your brain and your ovaries. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy to treat cancer may damage your reproductive organs. In some cases your reproductive organs will have to be removed partly or entirely.
Please note that the information provided is not medical advice. To obtain personalised information about suspected infertility, please contact your qualified fertility specialist.