Elective fertility preservation is a technology in which a woman’s eggs are removed or a man’s sperm collected, frozen, and then stored for use at a later date. A viable option for women and men who would like to have children in the future but are not ready to be a parent for personal and/or professional reasons.
A woman’s fertility potential is highest in her twenties, gradually drops in her early thirties, and then rapidly declines each year after age 35. Technology allows us the opportunity to delay building a family until a woman is ready.
A treatment cycle can take up to 5 weeks. During this process the woman is stimulated with fertility medications and her eggs are removed using vaginal ultrasound guidance, and then cryopreserved (frozen). When the woman decides she is ready to become pregnant, her eggs are then thawed and fertilized with sperm to create embryos through a process called IVF or In Vitro Fertilization. At that time embryo transfer takes place.
If the woman wishes to freeze embryos instead of eggs, the extracted eggs are fertilized after retrieval and then frozen.
Elective sperm freezing (cryopreservation) may be done for a wide variety of reasons. Men who fall into the following categories may want to consider this process: men with declining sperm count, men who work in high-risk occupations, men who are planning to undergo a vasectomy, or men who wish to freeze their sperm for use at another time and/or place.
Freezing sperm requires sperm to be collected and then an infection screening and laboratory analysis is completed followed by the freezing of the sperm. When the man decides he is ready to build a family, his sperm is then thawed and used to fertilize an egg to create an embryo/s.
Women and men of reproductive age who have been diagnosed with cancer face many decisions, including concerns regarding their fertility. Patients are often urged to immediately begin therapy to treat the malignancy. Many life-saving cancer therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation, may reduce or severely limit fertility by destroying sperm or eggs.
At RMA of Philadelphia, we understand these challenges and work one-on-one with our patients to find the most appropriate and timely solutions available to get through these difficult decisions and help ensure that building a family is an option after cancer treatment.
There are many options available for our patients with cancer who want to preserve the ability to conceive. Sperm, eggs, and/or embryos from both male and female cancer patients may be cryopreserved prior to chemotherapy or radiation and used at a later time.
Patients may also consider using donor eggs, sperm, embryos, or a gestational carrier to conceive following cancer treatment. RMA has an excellent program in place for those patients who request or require donor services.
RMA is sensitive to the array of challenges a cancer diagnosis raises, including the financial implications of fertility preservation services.
RMA offers a Compassionate Care Discount Program for treatment. We also work with pharmaceutical companies that provide free medications to patients.
To learn more, please visit our Affording Care page.
For additional questions and information on fertility preservation, please contact us today.