Fertility Preservation | Egg Freezing, Sperm Freezing, Embryo Freezing
Fertility preservation is a means of collecting and freezing eggs, sperm or embryos for future use, sometimes known as cryopreservation.
Why would you preserve your eggs?
There is no single reason for freezing eggs but some of the reasons are as follows:
- Ethical or religious concerns about freezing embryos
- Some women may want to take the pressure off meeting the right partner before their body clock becomes a concern
- Anyone about to undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy or any kind of procedure or medication that could put future egg production at risk
What is the process for freezing eggs?
Eggs will be collected in the same way as in the normal IVF process. They are vitrified (dehydrated to stop the formation of ice crystals) and then store in liquid nitrogen until required. In some cases, ovarian tissue may be stored rather than individual eggs. The tissue can then be replaced at a later date. This may be because of time constraints, because of illness or because the donor has not reached puberty.
How successful is egg freezing?
This is a relatively new process and there is little concrete data available about success rates. Normally, it is about 10 per cent as effective as embryo freezing with between five and 10 per cent of frozen eggs resulting in pregnancy.
Why would you preserve embryos?
If there are excess embryos collected during the IVF process that are of high quality then they can be frozen. The main benefit of storing the embryos rather than eggs and sperm is that it obviates the need to go through the IVF process again to produce another child. This probably means less cost and stress than a preceding full IVF treatment.
What is the process for freezing embryos?
This follows a similar process to egg freezing whereby the embryos are vitrified and then frozen in liquid nitrogen for future use.
How successful is embryo freezing?
Embryo freezing is a well-established element of the IVF process and statistics have shown that frozen embryos are nearly as successful as fresh embryos with about 30 per cent of transfers resulting in pregnancy in women under 40.
Why would you preserve sperm?
- It may not be possible when undergoing IVF to produce sperm on the same day as the treatment so frozen sperm is the only option
- If a man is travelling to a Zika infectious area, it may be advisable to freeze sperm before going
- If electing for a vasectomy then a man may wish to freeze a sperm sample
- Any medical treatment or procedure such as chemotherapy or radio therapy which could affect the quality of the sperm or cause sterilisation
- Some members of the armed forces elect to freeze sperm before a tour of duty
What is the process for freezing sperm?
Sperm freezing is a relatively simple process. Mr Julian Norman-Taylor will organise an initial screening to make sure there are no infectious diseases present the sperm is stored in liquid nitrogen. There is a need to sign a consent form for the sperm to be stored and subsequently used, particularly in the event of something unexpected happening to the donor, such as incapacity or death.
How successful is sperm freezing?
Typically, 50 per cent of sperm will survive the freezing and thawing process, although this can be dependent on the quality of the sample. Normally, a small amount will be frozen and thawed from the sample to check on survival rates. If there are any issues then a second sample may be required.
As women and men are now often embarking on starting their families at a later age, fertility preservation offers another option you may wish to explore. At Chiltern Fertility, Mr Julian Norman-Taylor provides comprehensive fertility consultations and will discuss all appropriate treatments. To arrange a consultation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01865 782856. Alternatively, fill in the contact form and one of the team will be in touch.