There are a number of reasons why an individual may choose to delay starting their family. And with fertility preservation, individuals are given an opportunity to freeze eggs, sperm, or embryos with the intent of having biological children in the future. Certain disorders and diseases may require long-term treatments that result in the postponement of conception. Cancer treatments, for example, may damage reproductive organs and/or gametes. Life circumstances may also make it more ideal to delay family building. In 2013, Utah Fertility was the first Utah center to help a patient achieve pregnancy using a frozen egg, and since then, it has helped numerous families reach their reproductive goals through fertility preservation.
The biological clock in women plays an especially important part in fertility. As a woman gets older, her eggs become less likely to be fertilized and grow into healthy embryos. A woman may choose to freeze her eggs due to family history of premature ovarian failure, severe endometriosis, or recurrent ovarian cysts. Cancer treatment may also negatively impact a woman’s fertility. Sometimes the timing of meeting the right partner just isn’t right. The newer method of egg freezing called vitrification, or “flash freezing”, gives women a very realistic option of preserving eggs for future use. No matter what the reason, Idaho Fertility Center is thrilled to offer fertility preservation to help relieve some of the pressure of the biological clock and keep options open for future family building.
Sperm banking is the specialized cryopreservation and cryogenic storage of sperm for use in future reproduction. Idaho Fertility Center banks sperm for individuals who intend to use the sperm for their own reproductive purposes. Men diagnosed with cancer whose treatment might compromise fertility may decide to bank sperm prior to treatments. Other circumstances in which a man may want to bank sperm include prior to having a vasectomy and working in occupations at “high risk” for testicular injury. In addition, couples undergoing in vitro fertilization will often freeze sperm for backup during their cycle.
Traditionally considered the gold standard for fertility preservation, embryo cryopreservation is also known as embryo freezing. During this process, embryos are created in a laboratory through in vitro fertilization. Eggs are retrieved and fertilized with sperm from either a partner or donor. Once fertilization occurs, embryos are grown in culture for five days. Once they reach a stage in development knowns as the “blastocyst stage”, they are frozen for future use. With the newer freezing methods, 95% of these embryos will survive the thawing process. When using these frozen embryos even many years later, pregnancy rates are now just as high as when using fresh embryos.
For more information on our options in fertility preservation, please contact our fertility office in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable Reproductive Endocrinologists. You can reach us at 208-529-2019.