What is 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. In many cases, it is possible to preserve fertility.

There are a number of fertility preservation options available. It is important to speak to a fertility specialist with experience in fertility preservation to understand which of the following options are suitable for your situation:

  • Freezing of eggs
  • Freezing of embryos
  • Freezing of sperm
  • Freezing of ovarian tissue
  • Ovarian transposition (the surgical fixation of the ovaries out of the field of planned pelvic radiotherapy)
  • Administration of medications during chemotherapy in order to minimize damage sustained to the ovaries during cancer treatment

Fertility preservation may be indicated in the following situations:

  • New diagnosis of cancer, with treatment expected to damage the ovaries or testes
  • Previous diagnosis of cancer, with a history of administration of chemotherapy which may have damaged the ovaries or testes
  • Previous diagnosis of cancer with concerns regarding future recurrence
  • History of a borderline ovarian tumour
  • History of ovarian cyst removal, especially if bilateral cyst removal
  • History of severe endometriosis
  • An autoimmune disease requiring treatment with low dose chemotherapeutic agents
  • Family history of premature menopause
  • Genetic or chromosomal abnormality that may cause an early menopause, eg, Turners syndrome
  • A genetic condition that predisposes to the development of ovarian cancer, eg, BRCA1, BRCA2 or lynch syndrome
  • Plans for a prophylactic removal of the ovaries to prevent ovarian cancer for a woman at increased risk of ovarian cancer
  • Transgender men and women prior to the administration of hormonal treatment that may damage or impair the ovaries or testes, or prior to gender affirming surgery
  • Men with testicular cancer requiring removal of one or both testes
  • Men with a genetic or chromosomal disorder that may result in a very low sperm count or complete absence of sperm at an older age
  • 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)

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