Fertility Preservation: When Is It Worth Exploring?
Infertility treatments commonly focus on achieving pregnancy as soon as possible. In some cases, treatment is designed to prepare for a future pregnancy using fertility preservation methods.
Fertility preservation has been common for cancer patients for years, however other patients with certain medical diagnoses, older maternal age, or who choose to put off conception for many reasons can benefit from this procedure and gain peace of mind about their reproductive choices.
However, as women further their career they often put off having children. Sometimes the right person has just not come along and having children has to wait. In cases such as this, it is advisable to consider freezing younger, healthier eggs to ensure a later opportunity to conceive and carry a baby. Many career women are opting to freeze their young and healthy eggs now in order to alleviate the concern that fertility in women begins to decline after age 35.
Below we discuss what fertility preservation is, who can benefit from it, and the average cost of fertility preservation.
What is Fertility Preservation?
According to the National Institutes of Health, fertility preservation includes saving or protecting eggs, sperm or reproductive tissue to have biological children in the future.
Freezing embryos or freezing sperm are common fertility preservation options with other techniques available due to advancements in reproductive technology.
Who Should Consider Fertility Preservation?
Both women and men may explore fertility preservation based on their health situations and risk level for future fertility challenges.
This often includes people with:
- Endometriosis or uterine fibroids
- A cancer or autoimmune disease diagnosis
- A genetic disease linked to infertility
- Older age
- Personal choice
Fertility preservation in cancer patients is called oncofertility preservation. High cancer survival rates in the United States are hopeful; however, cancer treatments can negatively impact long-term fertility.
Multiple methods like freezing embryos help patients with reasons to freeze their eggs quickly prepare for a future pregnancy before undergoing treatment.
What Fertility Preservation Options Exist?
Based on your specific situation, your doctor may recommend:
- Embryo Cryopreservation: Better known as freezing embryos, this method includes removing eggs from the ovaries, fertilizing them with sperm through in vitro fertilization, and freezing and storing the embryos for future use.
- Oocyte Cryopreservation: This process is similar to embryo cryopreservation, however only unfertilized eggs are frozen and stored. Women who want to preserve their fertility but aren’t ready to start a family, often choose this fertility preservation method.
- Sperm Cryopreservation: A man provides a semen sample that is frozen and stored for future use.
- Gonadal Shielding: For fertility preservation in cancer patients, a lead shield can protect the testicles, ovaries and pelvic area from radiation.
- Ovarian Transposition: In some cases, doctors relocate the ovaries and fallopian tubes in a minor surgery to avoid the radiation area.
What is the Cost of Fertility Preservation?
Fertility preservation costs vary widely by location, clinic and more. Insurance rarely covers fertility preservation, but you should always check with your coverage provider to fully understand your options. In some cases, procedures may be included in your infertility coverage.
When comparing the cost of popular fertility preservation options, be sure to consider the service and storage costs.
- Egg Freezing: $10,000-$15,000, plus $300-$500 annual storage fee
- Embryo Freezing: $11,000-$15,000, plus $400-$600 annual storage fee
- Sperm Banking: $500-$1,000, plus $150-$400 annual storage fee
- Testicular Sperm Extraction: $7,500-$10,000, plus $300-$500 annual storage fee
Connect with a Trusted Partner
Mandell’s Clinical Pharmacy will help you understand your fertility preservation options and the fertility medications needed through each step of the process.
If you think that Fertility Preservation is right for you, it is worth investigating your options and ensuring the opportunity to conceive at a later time.