There are many reasons individuals consider fertility preservation, from career aspirations to outstanding health circumstances to simply waiting before you start your family.
If you’d like to have the option to bring your biological children into life in the future, it’s a good idea to consider fertility preservation through egg freezing or embryo freezing. At PFCLA, we offer both egg and embryo preservation for our patients.
Let’s walk through the basics of fertility preservation, and what your possibilities are.
What is fertility preservation?
Fertility preservation is a viable option for both men and women who want to save eggs, sperm and reproductive tissue for future use. The preservation allows adults to have biological children when they are ready to do so, extending fertility by years or, in some cases, decades.
Candidates for fertility preservation
Anyone can partake in fertility preservation, and it’s a great option for men and women with certain life scenarios or medical ailments that may affect fertility.
Many women pursuing professional or educational growth choose to freeze eggs in order to retain their ability to have a healthy, successful pregnancy. Because a woman’s fertility declines around age 30, egg freezing is a good option for women who want to wait to start their families.
In addition, many individuals experiencing cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment pursue fertility preservation to freeze sperm, eggs, or embryos for the future. Methods of fertility preservation before cancer treatment varies for men and women, so it's best to consult with both a fertility preservation specialist and your cancer doctors before deciding a course of action.
Although many parents don't realize it, fertility options also exist for children who have been diagnosed with cancer. Fertility preservation should be addressed with your child as soon as they are old enough to understand, and particularly if they have begun puberty. Your consent and your child’s might be required before a procedure can be done.
Candidates for fertility preservation include:
- Women who wish to have biological children at a later time in life
- Women experiencing endometriosis or uterine fibroids
- Individuals with autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
- Individuals with a genetic disease that affects fertility
Your fertility preservation options
A good deal of fertility preservation options are available for both women and men. Before choosing which method is right for you, it's best to consider all your options.
Fertility preservation options for intended fathers
- Sperm cryopreservation: After a man provides a semen sample, it is frozen for future use.
- Gonadal shielding: This is used during radiation treatment for cancer, which can harm fertility. During radiation, a protective shield is placed outside the body to cover the testicles.
- Testicular Sperm Extraction: This surgical procedure removes a testicular tissue sample. The sample is examined for sperm and then the sperm is frozen for future use. The procedure benefits men who may not be able to ejaculate or have no sperm to ejaculate.
Fertility preservation options for intended mothers
- Embryo cryopreservation: The most common option for women, this process involves the removal of an egg from the ovaries. The egg is then fertilized with sperm from a partner or donor. The embryo is then frozen for future use.
- Oocyte cryopreservation: An egg is removed from the ovaries and is frozen in an unfertilized state for future use.
- Gonadal shielding: Similar to treatment for men, a protective shield is used to cover the reproductive organs during radiation treatment.
- Ovarian transportation: A female undergoes surgery to remove the ovaries and occasionally the fallopian tubes from an area that will receive radiation and place them in an area that will not.
- Removal of the cervix: To treat early cases of cervical cancer, a large section of the cervix can be surgically removed, which leaves the remainder of the cervix and uterus preserved.
When should I talk to my doctor?
If you are planning a cancer treatment or have other reasons to preserve your fertility, you should schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist as soon as possible. Our specialists at Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles will help you understand your options throughout the process.
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