What is fertility preservation treatment?
Elective fertility preservation refers to the process freezing eggs, sperm or embryos which can then be used in future fertility treatment when the time is right to start a family.
Why might you undergo fertility preservation treatment?
There are many reasons why you might decide to undergo fertility preservation treatment.
You may want to wait until you are older to have children, for example if you want to reach a certain point in your career, reach financial goals, or meet a partner before starting a family.
- Reproductive health conditions
Reproductive health conditions, such as endometriosis, can make it more difficult for you to naturally conceive. If you are keen to understand your reproductive health better before undergoing fertility preservation treatment, you may want to do a female or male fertility test.
- Cancer treatments
Cancer treatments, like chemotherapy or radiotherapy, can negatively impact your fertility due to the types and levels of drugs used.
- Transgender patients
Transgender patients may wish to preserve an embryo, egg, or sperm before undergoing gender-affirming treatment, like hormone replacement therapy (HRT), as this can impact your fertility levels.
What are the differences between freezing eggs and freezing sperm?
Freezing eggs and freezing sperm are both types of fertility preservation treatment, and both eggs and sperm can be safely frozen. However, the process of freezing differs slightly.
In egg freezing, a woman’s ovaries are stimulated to produce mature eggs, similar to what happens during IVF. Next, the eggs are collected and frozen in a lab utilising a speedy freezing procedure called vitrification. This ensures a high egg survival rate.
In sperm freezing, a man will have a health screening and attend one of our clinics to produce a sample. The sample is preserved in liquid nitrogen, meaning it can be safely stored for years until the individual requests for it to be thawed for use.
What about embryo freezing?
Embryos are also stored in liquid nitrogen at low temperatures. The difference is that the egg has already been fertilised before the freezing process begins, meaning you know how many fertilised eggs you are freezing. Furthermore, embryos are generally more durable than eggs, making them easier to freeze and thaw.
What fertility treatments can be used with frozen eggs or frozen sperm?
There are a few different fertility treatments you can turn to after undergoing private fertility preservation treatment, the most common one being IVF.
IVF can be carried out just as successfully with frozen specimen as with fresh alternatives, although not all eggs and sperm tend to survive the freezing and thawing procedures. The specimens are thawed, and sperm fertilises the egg in a culture dish. Having developed for several days, the eggs will begin to fertilise and divide, generating embryos that can be transferred into the womb.
Fertility preservation FAQs
How much does fertility preservation treatment cost?
All of our treatments are tailored to each patient. You can take a look at our price list for an idea of the costs involved.
Are there any risks associated with fertility preservation treatment?
Fertility preservation is generally considered very safe. However, for both men and women, a risk of fertility preservation is that it is unsuccessful. This is why it is important to choose a reputable fertility clinic with strong success rates. Aside from this, sperm freezing is considered very safe with no known risks. Egg freezing is more invasive than sperm freezing, and so presents greater risks. You can learn more about these on the HFEA website.
How successful is fertility preservation treatment?
Fertility preservation treatments have been proven to be very successful, although they can never guarantee pregnancy. You can take a look at our Success Rates for more information.
How can I start fertility preservation treatment?
The first step in your elective fertility preservation journey is to book a consultation with us. Our team has helped thousands of patients preserve their fertility and create the family of their dreams.
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