Treatments & Options - Fertility Preservation - Procedures

Fertility preservation is used for medical indications (like cancer treatment) and also by choice for those who want to delay pregnancy and birthing until they are older. Freezing of eggs, embryos and sperm are the most tried-and-true fertility preservation options for women and men.

Fertility preservation for women
The female fertility preservation procedure is an expensive undertaking. The process requires daily medication injections, outpatient surgery, and a commitment of at least two weeks of doctors’ appointments. The procedure also includes the following:

  • Your doctor will retrieve your eggs from your ovaries
  • If you choose to freeze embryos, the eggs are fertilized with sperm.
  • The resulting healthy embryos are then frozen and stored securely until you are ready to get pregnant.
  • You may also choose to just freeze your eggs. A technique called vitrification allows for a very quick freeze of the fragile egg.
  • Once you are ready to get pregnant, you may choose to go through in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the frozen and thawed embryos or eggs to get pregnant. 

Pregnancy after freezing eggs
Few babies were born from frozen eggs until recently. Vitrification and elective egg freezing offer single women a chance at a genetic child that they would not have had otherwise.

Fertility preservation for men
Men can also preserve their fertility by providing a sperm sample to be frozen at a sperm bank. The freezing of sperm may postpone a man’s cancer treatment for a few days, but it may prove to be beneficial later in life when it comes time to have children. For men and boys unable to provide a sperm sample before cancer treatment, exploratory fertility preservation techniques may also be available.

To find out if sperm, egg or embryo freezing is right for you, talk to your doctor.