Fertility Preservation

Fertility preservation is any process that preserves the ability of a person to have children in the future. It may involve the storage or protection of eggs, sperm, embryos or ovarian tissue.

Fertility preservation may be required in a number of situations:

  • Prior to cancer treatment that is expected to severely damage the ovaries or testes
  • Women with a genetic condition (eg, BRCA1 or 2 gene carrier) that places them at increased risk of ovarian cancer and therefore are planning prophylactic oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries to prevent ovarian cancer)
  • Women who are expected to undergo an early menopause, either due to a medical condition or a family history of early menopause
  • Women who have had one ovary removed or substantially damaged, especially if they are considered to be at increased risk of loss or damage to the remaining ovary
  • Women with an unexpectedly low ovarian reserve for their age
  • Women who are forced to delay childbearing for a medical reason
  • Transgender men or women prior to the commencement of hormonal treatments that may damage or impair their fertility, or prior to gender confirming surgery
  • Prior to a man undergoing vasectomy (freezing sperm prior to vasectomy ensures that sperm is available for a future pregnancy should a man change his mind at a later date and want children)

Egg freezing for social reasons is actually a form of fertility preservation, although the term ‘fertility preservation’ is generally used when there is a medical indication