Fertility Preservation


The desire to give birth to your child has become an increasing real option for the patients surviving cancer treatment or under-going different medical therapies. With the introduction of fertility preservation, the couple today have started taking up the decision of late pregnancy.

While on the other hand, women go for fertility preservation for several reasons including damage to ovaries or due to constant exposure to toxic chemicals, while men take the treatment if wanting to go for vasectomy procedures or any other radiated treatment. 

Hence, preserving a protective tissue through fertility preservation can prevent the scenario of child-bearing delays and its associated complications. 

An Overview of Fertility Preservation

Fertility preservation refers to the process of protecting or saving sperms, eggs, or reproductive tissues so that the person can use it to produce their biological children in the later stage. Fertility preservation helps to create potentiality for the adolescent at risk of impaired fertility. 

An unpleasant side of chemo and radiotherapy leads to Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI). While the consequences further deepen when these treatments are combined with bone marrow transplantation. Hence, the preservation of fertility in patients with cancer is important.

Likewise, few of the anti-cancer medications reduce the primordial follicle pool, fibrosis of the ovarian cortex, induce ovarian atrophy and severely damage gonadal vascularization. The effect can range from Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) to partial reduction of ovarian reserve. 

Recommendation for Fertility Preservation

ASRM Fertility Preservation has certain guidelines for patients diagnosed with cancer. However, the treatment is suggested to any individual including: 

  • Female with fallopian tube blockage, or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
  • Women with ovulation disorder, uterine fibroids or endometriosis.
  • Absence of motile sperm in men.
  • Couples facing with a genetic disorder.
  • Fertility preservation in cancer patients.
  • Long-term separated couple.
  • Same sex-couple.
  • Suffering from venereal diseases.

Fertility preservation options 

Embryo Cryopreservation

This is a process of freezing and storing of embryos. It is a part of the In-Vitro Fertilization program and is chosen to stabilize the chance of pregnancy or protect the embryos before medical treatments. The process includes the collection and preservation of embryo and is one of the vital parts of IVF treatment. Hence, it's highly recommended for people looking for preserving fertility due to several reasons including cancer patients.

During a standard course of infertility treatment, hormones are used to stimulate the development of eggs inside the ovarian reserve. All these eggs are then retrieved and fertilized in a laboratory. The combination is then transferred to the female’s uterus, while the remaining embryos are frozen. Embryos are preserved in between day 1 and day 7 after egg retrieval. However, not all embryo is suitable for cryopreservation fertility.

Sperm Cryopreservation

The technique has been utilized for more than 40-years as fertility preservation in male cancer patients. This fertility-preserving surgery stores sperm of patients undergoing any therapy and play a key role in treating infertility. These stored sperms can also be used for sperm donation to an infertile couple. There is no time limitation on the possibility of cryopreserved sperm. 

The sperm cryopreservation involves the process of semen collection, freezing process (slow freezing or rapid freezing) and thawing process. A man can easily preserve fertility without going through complicated procedures. However, the male fertility preservation i.e. semen depends on the partner's fertility status, motility, number of children, and the overall health factor. 

Ovum Cryopreservation

Oocyte Cryopreservation is the advanced fertility preservation in women. In this egg freezing technique, eggs undergo rapid freezing, preventing the time for crystal formulation. Vitrification of eggs includes newer cryoprotectants with high concentrations. For successful fertility freezing, a fair amount of experience and expertise is needed. The taken eggs before preservations are first placed in a bath with a lower concentration to draw out the waters. Then, the oocyte is moved to the high intensity of cryoprotectant to preserve egg fertility. The eggs are laid for less than a minute and then placed in a nitrogen solution for the freezing process.

When a female is ready to take up pregnancy the cryoprotectants are washed and the eggs are rapidly warmed up.

Ovarian Tissue Freezing

An experimental approach that adopts the surgical procedure to remove the ovarian tissue containing immature eggs and hormone-producing cells. This fertility preservation in ovarian cancer is not suggested. 

Ovarian tissue freezing is the option only available for pre-pubescent girls. A sound idea of fertility preservation in female cancer patients as the chance of being pregnant after the cancer treatment becomes low. As the tissue freezing is on the experimental phase the ovarian tissue freezing cost is not yet determined by any of the surgeons or infertility centers. 

Ovarian Transportation

In this process, ovarian preservation is performed by surgically moving the ovaries in the higher abdomen. This fertility preservation for cancer patients is done to minimize the damage prior to any radiation treatment. It has a success rate of 79-100 percent in protecting ovarian function from the harmful effects of pelvic radiation. However, no protection is given against chemotherapy. 

If you are planning for cancer treatment or want to preserve your fertility, talk to our fertility experts at Vatsalya. The specialists are here to understand your most viable options and answer your questions. So, before getting your fertility damaged due to cancer therapy sessions, have a brief session from our Vatsalya team.

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