Freezing eggs or sperm for future parenthood is an increasingly common option. For different reasons, both men and women may wish to postpone paternity or maternity, respectively, without losing the quality of their gametes, that is, their eggs and sperm, due to the passage of time or due to treatments or surgeries that are harmful to their fertility. This is achieved through the preservation of
preservation of fertility
In which cases is fertility preservation used?
The reasons for fertility preservation may be for medical indication or for social reasons:
- First, with the intention of delaying childbearing due to social factorsIt is increasingly common for women to be unprepared to become mothers due to today’s society, the pace of life and the personal and professional situation of each woman. Since nowadays the ideal biological age for pregnancy rarely corresponds to the age at which a woman is ready for it, it is possible to resort to egg preservation and “stop” the biological clock to a certain extent.
- On the other hand, in the case of both women and men, fertility preservation can be performed prior to surgery that may affect ovarian reserve or seminal quality.
- In addition, in oncology patients or those suffering from any autoimmune disease, both male and female, who are going to receive chemotherapy or radiotherapy and even bone marrow transplants.
What is fertility preservation? What procedure should be followed in each case?
Fertility preservation can be performed in different ways depending on the requirements of each patient’s situation, thus, the following techniques can be applied:
- Cryopreservation or, in other words, freezing of gametes (eggs and sperm). This method is the most widely used as it is simpler and can be performed individually by each person, regardless of whether or not they currently have a partner. The procedure for freezing the female gametes is longer and more complex than the male one, since in the case of women, hormonal stimulation is required to obtain a greater number of eggs, as is done in egg donations or for an egg donation cycle. in vitro fertilization.
- Freezing of embryos. This case is generally proposed to heterosexual couples, since the gametes of both are needed to obtain the embryos. It has a higher success rate in terms of pregnancies, however, as a couple is needed, it is an important decision in the long term.
- Freezing of ovarian or testicular tissue. It is a technique used in special cases such as, for example, patients with hormone-dependent cancer, such as breast cancer, in which ovarian stimulation for oocyte freezing treatment could worsen their condition, making it safer to freeze a portion of ovarian tissue without any stimulation. It is also very useful in cases of childhood diseases that affect the reproductive organs and that, due to the young age of the patients, their gametes cannot be frozen because they are not yet producing them.
What is the right age to preserve fertility?
In the case of men, age does not greatly influence the results of sperm cryopreservation; of greater importance is the sperm quality prior to freezing. However, in women when the reason for preservation is social, i.e. the desire to delay childbearing, it is recommended to preserve fertility before the age of 35, since at that age there is usually a significant reduction in ovarian reserve.
How long can frozen gametes be preserved?
Both eggs and sperm, once cryopreserved, can be kept in this way indefinitely, since the time elapsed will not influence the quality of these gametes. It should only be taken into account that its use is performed during the physiologically fertile age of the woman and taking into account that assisted reproduction centers have a maternal age limit, for the safety and health of future mothers and children.
In summary, for any of these cases, fertility preservation is a technique that significantly improves the probability of pregnancy, in advanced age or after overcoming a disease that affects fertility. If you are interested you can consult our website or contact us at any time.
C. Orjuela, Embryologist.
Contact our fertility clinic.
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Phone: 965230397 / +34 606437458