Fertility Preservation and Egg Freezing
Female fertility declines with increasing age and starts to decline more rapidly after the age of 35. It is now possible for a woman to freeze her eggs earlier in her reproductive years if having a family at that time isn’t an option. Advances in the technology and methods for freezing eggs now means that the eggs may be successfully thawed at a later date and fertilised with partner or donor sperm depending on the circumstances at that time. While this doesn’t definitely guarantee a pregnancy in the future, it does provide women with one option to preserve their future fertility.
Fertility preservation may also be recommended prior to treatments that are known to have a detrimental effect on the eggs remaining within the ovary, the ovarian reserve. These treatments include chemotherapy for cancer treatment or other medical conditions. In some cases unfortunately, freezing eggs isn’t an option due to the need to start treatment immediately. Sometimes, freezing a portion of the ovarian tissue or giving a hormonal medication during treatment to suppress ovarian function is the more suitable treatment. There is also the option to reconsider freezing eggs once treatment is complete.
For men, fertility preservation is possible by storing frozen sperm. The sperm may then be thawed and used in the future for insemination (IUI) or IVF treatments.