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What is fertility preservation and its purpose?

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7 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Melvin H. Thornton, Associate Professor

Gynaecologist, Medical Director & IVF Director Global Fertility & Genetics
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Fertility preservation is a very important topic for both men and women. In that, it helps a woman who is faced with the possibility of going into early menopause due to genetics due to surgery, or a diagnosis of cancer that will require chemotherapy. To preserve their eggs they have children in the future, fertility preservation for men is also the same. There are many men who are faced with a diagnosis of cancer who will need to preserve their fertility because they haven’t had children yet. It’s important that they do this prior to the onset of chemotherapy. But then there are cases where people are both in high-risk jobs such as in the military where before you are being deployed, you may want to preserve your sperm, preserve your eggs, they have a chance to have a child in the future after being deployed. That now in the US there is a lot of what we call Social Fertility Preservation. And these are mainly women who don’t have a partner, who are career-oriented, and have decided they’re not ready to have a child at this point. And they would like to freeze their eggs to preserve them for a chance to have a child in the future.

Answer from: Ioannis Zervomanolakis, PhD

Gynaecologist, Obstetrician Hygeia IVF Athens
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Fertility preservation is a very important part of fertility treatment since there are many women and men worldwide that would like to have the opportunity to be parents at a later time. The initial treatment was focused on women and men with cancer issues. Nevertheless, we have the possibility of so-called social freezing nowadays during which women within the age of 40-42 come to us and perform a so-called egg freezing in order to be able to have their own family many years later.

Answer from: Jessica Subira, M.D. Consultant in Gynecology, Sub-specialist in Reproductive Medicine

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Fertility Preservation is a technique to preserve, to store gametes. Usually we store eggs and sperm but we can also store ovarian tissue that is especially for oncological patients. Technique itself is just mainly to have something set aside after the event that we consider harmful for the ovaries, for example chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients but it can also cause age fertility decline – we can have something to use  to get pregnant with our own eggs. That is the purpose of fertility preservation. It is just to have something stored just in case we need to use it. The options that we have available right now are mainly: for women: the option for egg freezing, also known as oocyte vitrification and the ovarian tissue preservation which is the more research technique that  is used for oncological patients when we don’t have time to do ovarian stimulation. Then for men, we have an option of freezing sperm samples. Usually we freeze several samples and then with that we have enough to have stored and have a better chance of having pregnancy in the future.

Answer from: Ahmed Amer, DipRCPath, MBA, MSc, MEng

Embryologist, Senior Embryologist ARGC Limited
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Fertility preservation is the procedure that patients always do to kind of put up a pause button on their fertility until a future date to decide to conceive. Fertility preservation is usually done for others for medical reasons. Medical reasons for example are in the cases of cancers where patients have to undergo cancer treatment. They have the option of freezing eggs, embryos or sperm to be used at a later date to help them conceive. It can also be used for social reasons when people have not decided when or yet have kids or babies. They have the option of freezing their sperm or even embryos to be used at a late date when to have children

Answer from: Maria José Mendiola, MD, MSc in Human Genetics, MSc in Science Communication, ObGyn

Gynaecologist, Gynaecologist in Reproductive Medicine & Reproductive Genetics Clínica Monterrico
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Ovarian tissue freezing involves removing a special piece of ovarian tissue from the one ovary – cutting it into tiny slices and then freezing then later when you are ready to try to conceive, the ovarian tissue slices are grafted back into your pelvis so around 9 months cellular the grafted ovarian tissue can start to produce reproductive hormones and follicular development the pregnancy may be achieved either with ovarian stimulation and IVF or perhaps even naturally. Before you begin chemotherapy or any treatment some of your semen also can be contained in sperm so it can be frozen and kept until you wish to start a family. Men, in case of men who have to travel overseas for work in dangerous situations for example, will also want to have their sperm frozen for use in the future. For other men particularly, for example those men who have small amounts of non-mature sperm in their ejaculate, sperm can sometimes be retrieved by surgery and then it can be collected using some methods that are not able to fertilize an egg on their own. They will need to be injected into a neck during a process that is called ICSI Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection.

Answer from: Bárbara Silvera Gijón, Embriologist

Embryologist, Embriologist Quirónsalud Valencia
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The preservation of fertility basically consists of vitrifying oocytes / embryos or semen. There are many reasons why fertility is preserved, such as premature menopause, cancer, risky jobs such as the military, and they want to have children in the future. Then there is what we call social preservation, which consists of young women who are currently unable to have children due to many circumstances such as not having a partner, not having a stable job or a enough  income that does not  allow to have children, more and more in my country Spain, motherhood is delayed beyond the age of 31.
There are several options, you can preserve oocytes, semen or if you have a partner you can fertilise the oocytes and vitrify the embryos directly.

Answer from: Valentina Denisova, MD PhD Obstetrician Gynaecologist

Gynaecologist, Fertility Specialist Next Generation Clinic
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Fertility Preservation is an option to save biological material of patients who cannot conceive right now or are going to be treated with gonadotoxic treatment. Mainly we are talking about fertility preservation in the field of oncology when a patient is going to have some gonadotoxic treatment or surgery. Another important point of fertility preservation is social freezing especially for female patients.

Fertility preservation is a very important part in the treatment of patients with oncological diseases who cannot have many doubts regarding the outcome of the main treatment and their future life being. Right now it’s well known that patients who have saved their own material before starting their treatment of an oncological disease sometimes have more successful outcomes of their main treatment.

About this question:

How can I preserve my fertility for the future?

Generally speaking, fertility preservation is the process of saving and storing gametes (eggs, sperm) so that a person can use them to have biological children in the future. Fertility preservation is especially important for cancer patients who wish to have children.

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