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Relatively speaking, fertility preservation techniques like sperm banking and embryo freezing have been available for a long time. Advancements in reproductive technology have recently made it possible to preservation pregnancy potential through egg freezing, or “oocyte cryopreservation”. The follow are now all common methods of fertility preservation:
Freezing Sperm – The primary method used to preserve male fertility. The male is asked to produce sperm, usually in a lab, which can then be frozen and stored for long periods of time. Most people think of this method in terms of sperm donation, but it is also commonly used for male patients going through treatment for cancer.
Freezing Embryos – For a variety of reasons, patients may choose to preserve their fertility with a known partner or sperm donor. In the past, when egg freezing was not yet reliable, patients wishing to preserve their future fertility would need to preserve fertilized eggs, or embryos. This method is still considered to be a very reliable, if circumstances permit.
Oncofertility Preservation – A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating in many ways. Fortunately, with high cancer survival rates in the United States, it is ideal for patients to plan for life after treatment – life in remission. Unfortunately, there are numerous cancer treatments that can have a detrimental impact on future fertility. As a result, cancer patients who are of reproductive age can now preserve their fertility through several methods. Two very common methods are oocyte cryopreservation and embryo cryopreservation. Both involve treatment with fertility medications, specifically controlled ovarian hyperstimulation. If there is no partner present, the infertility specialist will retrieve the eggs and freeze them. They can then be thawed in the future and introduced to sperm to achieve pregnancy via IVF. In cases where there is a partner present, the infertility specialist may elect to fertilize the eggs via IVF or ICSI to produce embryos prior to freezing. In either case, Mandell’s Clinical Pharmacy is able to act with extreme sensitivity and urgency in helping cancer patients get their IVF care so they can continue on to their life-saving cancer treatment.
Elective Oocyte Cryopreservation – It is well-known that ovarian reserve (ie. the number of good quality eggs within the ovaries) diminishes with age. As a result, women who are not yet ready to have a family, but wish to preserve the fertility of their youth, can pursue egg freezing. Unless you work for Apple or Facebook (Article) , chances are you do not yet have coverage for this type of procedure. Mandell’s has excellent discount programs for self-pay patients and can help you work on a budget or obtain financing for these medications and procedures. .
Donor Egg Banking – When utilizing an egg donor, most recipients are paired with a donor and the two, often anonymously, cycle in synchrony so there is exact timing for the recipient to receive the donor’s eggs. With advancements in egg freezing technology, it is now possible to utilize donor eggs from an egg bank. In Donor Egg Banking, donors are recruited and go through controlled ovarian hyperstimulation . Their eggs are retrieved, frozen and remain stored in an Egg Bank until the appropriate recipient elects to use them.