Freezing Your Fertility
Freezing for Your Fertility
Freezing sperm refers to freezing and storage of sperm indefinitely for future use for IVF, intrauterine insemination or sperm donation.
This procedure is useful for men who want to preserve their fertility long-term, but have to undergo procedures like vasectomy, chemotherapy or radiation. Men also do this if they work in a dangerous profession or even advancing age.
If the couple has already undergone one IVF cycle, then additional sperm may be frozen for future use.
Routine screening for infection, quality, quantity and viability may also be performed.
These sperm samples are collected via a non-invasive or surgical process.
Egg freezing is also called mature oocyte cryopreservation. It is a method to preserve the eggs to potentially extend fertility.
Eggs are harvested from ovaries, frozen unfertilized and used at a later date. These eggs can later be thawed and combined with a sperm for IVF in the future.
Several preliminary tests may be performed before the treatment to determine the patient’s candidacy for egg freezing. Fertility drugs are taken by the patient to stimulate multiple eggs to mature at once for retrieval. Several follow up procedures are done to ensure that the eggs are developing correctly and medication is given to prevent premature ovulation.
Multiple eggs up to 15 or 20 can be retrieved during one cycle.
This procedure can be considered for women going through IVF, medical treatments which reduce fertility and even to preserve younger eggs for future use.
But there are certain risks associated with this procedure like – ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, complications in egg retrieval, emotional turmoil, etc.
The risk of miscarriage depends on the age at which the eggs were harvested but there isn’t a higher risk of birth using frozen eggs.
There is a lower chance of live birth by using frozen eggs than by using frozen embryos. The age of the patient at the time of the harvest of the eggs plays a major role in its success.
If during the initial IVF cycle, there are healthy embryos left over, then they can be frozen for future use. This freezing arrests the development of the growing embryo at the required stage.
All healthy embryos are not transferred together in one cycle, as it can result in serious risk of multiple pregnancies. Only one is transferred in the first cycle and two are transferred in the second cycle. Embryos can be stored short or long- term depending on the needs of the patient. Embryos are thawed at the time of implantation.
This process eliminates the need for harvesting new eggs or sperm for each new cycle.
The main factor for success is the age of women’s eggs at the time of harvest. Younger eggs have a better chance of live births.
Success rates for frozen embryos are higher than success rates for frozen eggs.