An overview of the different fertility preservation methods

There are many reasons you may want to take steps to preserve your fertility. You might be undergoing cancer treatment that could affect your fertility, want to pursue gender-affirming treatment or are simply getting older but are not yet ready to start a family.

You do have more than one option to preserve your fertility, so take the time to learn a little more about your choices before you schedule your appointment at a fertility treatment center.

Freezing of eggs

In this procedure, your eggs are harvested and frozen so they can be thawed down the road when you are ready to start your family. The process usually takes around two weeks to complete and is similar to an IVF cycle in its steps. You will have frequent blood work and ultrasound monitoring at the clinic, and you will receive hormone injections daily to grow, recruit and mature several eggs.

Once your eggs have adequately matured, you will undergo an Egg Retrieval procedure to remove the eggs from your ovaries. After removal, the eggs are frozen and stored.

Freezing of an embryo

When you have reached the end of your in vitro fertilization cycle, there is normally only one embryo that is chosen for transfer back into your uterus. At this time, any extra embryos that were made could be stored for future pregnancy attempts. In addition to this, any person who wants to preserve their fertility can also freeze embryos with donor or partner egg or sperm.

Freezing of sperm for male fertility preservation

Men can freeze their sperm for use when they are ready to begin their family. In this procedure, it’s best to stay abstinent for two to five days before you give the sample. You will receive a semen collection kit that you can use at the clinic or in the privacy of your home. Multiple samples can be sent to the sperm bank for storage.

On the day of the freezing, the clinic will normally perform a post-thaw assessment. This is done to evaluate several features of the sperm, including the concentration, motility (movement) and viability. Depending on the frozen sample’s quality, the stored sperm can be used later for intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

How to decide?

It can be tough to decide which preservation method is right for you. Some factors that may influence your decision include why you are taking steps to preserve fertility, your current health, the presence of any conditions influencing your fertility, your personal comfort levels and your current state of health overall.

If you are making this decision with your partner, be sure to discuss the pros and cons of any method you are considering together before making your final choice.

Your fertility treatment center can also help guide you by offering advice, answering any questions you have and addressing any potential concerns that may relate to your situation.

You can preserve your fertility so you can grow your family later, but you will need to decide on a method and take some steps first. Contact a fertility treatment center for more information on these methods and to discuss all of your options.