Egg & Sperm Freezing

Understanding Fertility Preservation

Egg freezing (vitrification) is a new technology that allows fertility and eggs to be preserved. There are several categories of egg and sperm freezing:

Medical

When a patient needs chemotherapy to treat cancer, they may become infertile. The chemotherapy can destroy egg reserve. To preserve eggs, ovarian stimulation is performed to retrieve eggs before the chemotherapy. 

Social

Fertility declines after the age of 35 years. Many people do not find a suitable partner until after this age which makes it harder to conceive. Many people are becoming more aware of this and are becoming proactive by freezing their eggs before this age. Egg freezing does not guarantee a baby.

Fertility Preservation for LGBTQ Patients

For people undergoing gender affirmation with the assistance of hormones, surgery or other medical interventions, some of these treatments can have an impact on their fertility. While some of these effects can be short term others can be permanent.

If you plan to affirm your gender medically and wish to preserve your fertility to have a family in the future there are options available including Egg and Sperm Preservation. Feel free to discuss the best option with Dr Tash before commencing your medical affirmation.

Fertility-preserving options

Embryo freezing

Embryo freezing involves the collection of mature eggs and fertilisation with sperm in the laboratory. The resulting fertilised embryos are frozen and preserved until the woman is ready to become pregnant.

Egg freezing

Egg freezing involves the collection of mature eggs and freezing them (without fertilisation with sperm).

Sperm banking

Sperm banking involves preserving (freezing) semen for assisted reproductive procedures.

Management of Fertility Issues related to cancer treatments

Fertility preservation options for cancer patients

The treatment of cancer may pose temporary or permanent fertility problems in both men and women. The effects may be immediate or show up much later in life. Various factors, such as the type of cancer, treatment and age, determine your chances of infertility following treatment. Any cancer therapy would involve one or more of the three general techniques – chemotherapy or the use of high-end medication, radiotherapy, which is the use of high-energy radiation and surgery to destroy and remove cancer cells. The higher the dose of chemo and radiation therapy, and the older you are, the greater its effect on fertility.

Cancer therapy can damage the endocrine glands (glands that release hormones essential for puberty and fertility). Radiotherapy and chemotherapy may damage the quantity and quality of sperm in men, and decrease the number of mature healthy eggs produced in women. Cancers of the reproductive organs such as the testicles, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix may require surgical removal, thus affecting the ability to reproduce. Cancer treatment can also increase the risk of early menopause in women, making them infertile at a much younger age.

Since avoiding cancer treatment is not an option, there are methods to preserve your fertility. Fertility-preserving procedures are most commonly performed before cancer treatment. It is important that you talk to your doctor about these methods and plan early to preserve your fertility.

Fertility-preserving options in men

The options for men may include: 

Physical protection

Physically protecting the testes from radiation therapy.

Testicular sperm extraction and epididymal sperm aspiration

Testicular sperm extraction and epididymal sperm aspiration involves removing a small amount of tissue from the testicles or epididymis. The mature sperm are frozen and stored for later use through assisted reproduction (a technique of artificially fertilising a preserved sperm with a woman’s egg outside the body, and transferring the embryo into the uterus for development).

Sperm banking

Sperm banking involves preserving (freezing) semen for assisted reproductive procedures.

In boys who have not entered puberty

In boys who have not entered puberty, a small portion of the testicular tissue, containing stem cells that will eventually become sperm, is extracted, frozen and stored.

Fertility-preserving options in women

The options for women may include:

Embryo freezing

Embryo freezing involves the collection of mature eggs and fertilisation with sperm in the laboratory. The resulting fertilised embryos are frozen and preserved until the woman is ready to become pregnant.

Egg freezing

Egg freezing involves the collection of mature eggs and freezing them (without fertilisation with sperm).

Fertility preserving surgery

In case of early-stage cervical cancer and ovarian cancer, fertility preserving surgery is performed to remove the cervix and affected ovary, respectively, keeping the uterus intact. This will help the women to get pregnant and deliver the baby by caesarean section.

Oophoropexy

Oophoropexy involves surgically moving the ovaries away from the path of radiation and bringing it back to its original position after treatment, with an intention of protecting the ovaries from radiation therapy.

In girls who have not yet entered puberty

In girls who have not yet entered puberty, ovarian tissue preservation is performed, which involves the surgical removal of ovarian tissue and preserving it by freezing. The tissue may be transplanted back into the girl after the cancer treatment.

Our commitment

“At Newtown Fertility Centre, we understand many of the challenges patients face on their fertility journey or path to better health. We are committed to providing a comfortable and supportive environment and working in partnership with our patients to achieve the best possible health. Patients know their bodies better than anyone else, and it is this respect for the patient that sets us apart.”

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