Preserving fertility by freezing eggs, sperm, or embryos is recommended for patients in many different circumstances.
While this issue of our newsletter is highlighting breast cancer awareness, I would also like to take this opportunity to discuss some other scenarios in which fertility preservation should be considered.
The treatments needed to help eradicate cancer in both men and women can result in a markedly decreased production of sperm or eggs or even complete loss of fertility. Because of this, patients are often advised to preserve fertility prior to chemotherapy, radiation therapy or even surgery, in order to allow future pregnancy once the cancer treatments have been completed.
Another common scenario in which fertility preservation should be considered relates to our military personnel. Prior to deployment, active-duty military members may elect to preserve sperm, eggs, or embryos for their spouse to use while they are away.
Current trends suggest that women are waiting later in their reproductive years to attempt pregnancy. While the reasons for this may well be noble, such as furthering education or careers, ovaries don’t understand the message to wait. By age 40, the number of eggs remaining in the ovaries has declined to around 10,000 from the 300,000-500,000 that were present around the time of puberty. Additionally, the quality of the remaining eggs declines with age, causing an increase in the risk for miscarriage or genetic defects, such as Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome).
Choosing to preserve your eggs (or embryos) may offer a solution to each of these problems. Through cryopreservation, your eggs or embryos can be “frozen in time”, which can allow you to decide when you want to have a baby without worrying about age-related risks and the diminished chance for successful fertility that comes along with advancing age.
Single women should remember that a partner is not required to preserve fertility. Even if you are still searching for the right person, freezing eggs is still an option for you. Eggs can be retrieved and cryopreserved, or frozen, until you are ready to use them. Texas Fertility Center is one of the only fertility centers in the Southwest to have already celebrated the birth of a baby conceived using a frozen egg.
If you are considering fertility preservation, regardless of the reason, Texas Fertility Center is pleased to participate in your care. Please contact our office at 512-451-0149 or visit our website at www.txfertility.com
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