Fertility storage, or fertility preservation as it’s also known, is a treatment that allows either sperm or eggs to be preserved for future use, whilst their viability is still strong.
To find out everything you need to know about fertility storage and what it entails, read on to find out more about sperm and egg preservation.
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Unfortunately, sperm storage sometimes happens in the event of an illness affecting a man. However, any effects of an illness or treatment may have on fertility can be lessened via fertility storage.
If a man is going through treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or is just about to go into surgery, they may choose to preserve their sperm, due to how some procedures can affect the quality of the semen.
However, freezing sperm is a viable fertility preservation method for anyone, not just those undergoing treatment or illness.
Sperm can be frozen for a long period, usually a decade at the most. However, this is dependent on the age of the donor.
If the donor is under 40, it’s possible that they can have the storage period extended unless a medical practitioner advises against it. Extensions are usually allowed for those whose sperm is likely to become impaired in the near future.
When patients are looking to conceive after a period of preservation, there’s a possibility that their sperm could have become damaged. This means that their donation will have to be checked over professionally before it’s used.
Preserving sperm via freezing is a fairly successful fertility treatment, however the success of this procedure is purely down to the quality of the sperm stored.
Freezing your eggs
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A relatively newer technique than the storage of sperm, freezing your eggs allows mature eggs to be stored for a long period of time at very low temperatures.
By storing eggs in liquid nitrogen at an incredibly low -196°C temperature, they can be preserved for up to ten years, just like sperm storage.
For women looking to further their career before conceiving, eggs can be frozen in order to delay pregnancy until later in life, when they are ready to start a family.
Many women now opt to freeze their eggs in young adulthood, to guarantee that the quality is still in good condition for conception.
Women suffering from cancer and undergoing radiotherapy have the option to freeze their eggs to preserve them. Other reasons to consider freezing your eggs include ovarian failure, which means that patients have to act swiftly to recover their viable eggs.
Unlike their male equivalent, females will have to take fertility drugs before the preservation period. This allows them to produce further follicles and helps to mature their eggs faster. Hormone injections are also used when at least three follicles of an adequate size (17mm) are detected, to once again speed up maturity.
When the time is right for the patient to finally use their eggs, they’ll have to undergo an ICSI treatment cycle, also known as an Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection cycle.
The eggs will then be warmed, but unfortunately, a number of the eggs may not survive this period. All healthy eggs will then be fertilised via a sperm injection.
With egg freezing being a relatively new fertility treatment, the chances of conception stand at around 15%. However, in years to come, this procedure is bound to advance, along with the success rate too.
For further information on freezing eggs, sperm and even freezing embryos, contact us to find out how our team of experts can help you benefit from these procedures. We’re always happy to help.