Egg Freezing for Cancer
Egg or embryo freezing is the most established and reliable method of preserving fertility.
Important points to note about egg freezing for fertility preservation:
- A cycle of egg freezing can usually be completed within three weeks of an initial referral; therefore if a referral is promptly made for fertility preservation upon cancer diagnosis, it possible in most situations to conduct a cycle of egg freezing without delaying the commencement of chemotherapy
- It is possible to commence a cycle of egg freezing without waiting for your period
- Ovarian stimulation can be safely conducted even with a diagnosis of an oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer; an additional medication is administered during the cycle to minimize the increase in oestrogen levels
At your initial consultation, you will be referred for a blood tests including routine serology (Hep B, Hep C, HIV, syphilis) and an anti-mullerian hormone (AMH). Other blood tests may be required depending on your individual circumstances. You will also be referred for a pelvic ultrasound with an antral follicle count at a specialised women’s ultrasound practice. These tests can usually be arranged within 24 hours of your initial consultation (we can help you arrange them).
Egg freezing requires approximately 10-14 days of hormone injections followed by a short egg collection procedure under general anaesthetic.
In cases of acute leukaemia, an immediate start to chemotherapy is often required. In situations where there is significant immunosuppression or when blood clotting factors are disrupted, egg freezing may not be safe to conduct. In these situations, it may be possible to freeze eggs after successful treatment, if the ovaries have not been too badly damaged by the chemotherapy. Medications to suppress ovarian activity during chemotherapy may be administered to try to minimise the damage to the ovaries.