Fertility preservation offers couples or individuals the opportunity to preserve their ability to have children in the future. For some women a medical reason, such as cancer treatment, may lead them to seek fertility preservation. For others, the reason is personal such as to defer childbearing or to pursue a chosen career path.
Whatever the reason, FIRM can assist with the following approved fertility preservation treatments:
In this outpatient surgical procedure, eggs are harvested from your ovaries, fertilized through in vitro fertilization (IVF), frozen and then stored. At the beginning of your menstrual cycle, you will begin daily injections of synthetic hormones to stimulate your ovaries and increase the likelihood that multiple eggs can be collected during a single cycle. The injections are typically given for up to two weeks. Eggs are removed just before ovulation through a needle inserted into your ovary through your vagina. You are sedated during this procedure. Then the eggs are combined with sperm – provided by a partner or sperm donor – and frozen. This method of fertility preservation has the highest chance of success for women. Embryos can survive the freezing and thawing process over 90% of the time. This process could delay the start of any medical cancer treatment by 2-6 weeks.
Egg Freezing (oocyte cryopreservation)
Similar to embryo cryopreservation, you will get fertility injections to stimulate your ovaries and then have your eggs harvested during an outpatient surgical procedure. FIRM offers egg freezing technology (also called oocyte vitrification) to preserve the unfertilized, mature eggs for future use. Vitrification uses a specific cryoprotectant that protects eggs from injury during the egg freezing/thaw process. Over 70% of eggs survive freezing and thawing, and a similar amount will be successfully fertilized. Keep in mind, that pregnancy rates might be lower when frozen eggs are used, compared with fresh or frozen embryos.
The process for seeking assistance with fertility preservation is simple and begins with a FIRM physician consultation. The physician will obtain a thorough history, discuss treatment options and review the screening requirements. Some of the cost of this process may be covered by your insurance. Please contact us for more information about insurance coverage and financing options.
Teresa M. Erb, M.D.