Fertility preservation - embryo, oocyte and sperm preservation
Fertility preservation is the process of preserving eggs, sperm, or reproductive tissue so that it can be used in the future when a person may want to have a child. It is particularly important for persons facing medical conditions or undergoing treatments that may impact their fertility potential. It is also important for females who want to delay childbearing for certain social issues. The fertility preservation options for both females and males are
Fertility Preservation in Females
1. Egg Freezing or Oocyte Cryopreservation: The most common method of fertility preservation for females is oocyte preservation. This involves retrieving mature eggs from the ovaries, freezing them, and storing them for later use. When the female is ready to plan for pregnancy, the eggs can be thawed (warmed), fertilized with sperm through IVF or ICSI, and transferred to the uterus.
2. Embryo Cryopreservation:. This involves fertilizing retrieved eggs with sperms to make embryos through IVF or ICSI. Embryo preservation is suitable for couples in a committed relationship or it can be done using donor sperms also. The embryos are then cryopreserved for future use.
3. Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation: This method is usually done for prepubertal girls, for women who don’t have time for ovarian stimulation and preservation has to be done on urgent basis, or those at risk of losing ovarian function due to certain medical conditions. It involves removing a part of the ovary and freezing the tissue thus obtained. This tissue can be later transplanted back into the body or used for in vitro maturation of oocytes.
Fertility Preservation in Male
- Semen Cryopreservation: This is the most common method for preservation of fertility in males. It involves collecting semen sample and freezing it for future use. This frozen sample can be used for insemination or IVF when desired.
- Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE):conditions where the male partner cannot produce semen sample or has a medical condition that may affect production of sperms, TESE may be performed. It involves the extraction of sperms directly from the testicles by a surgical procedure. The extracted sperms or tissue can then be cryopreserved for future use.
It is important that fertility preservation options should be given to any patient before starting any medical treatments (like chemotherapy etc) or undergoing procedures that may affect fertility. The success of fertility preservation techniques may vary, and the chance of achieving pregnancy depends on several factors, including the age, overall health of the individual and the underlying condition at the time of preservation.
It's recommended to consult a fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist who can provide personalized guidance, discuss all the available options, and help make an informed decision based on individual circumstances.
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