Fertility Preservation – Egg Freezing
We at Fertility Specialists of Texas have a proven track record of success in IVF and in the area of egg freezing. Fertility Specialists of Texas is one of the first fertility practices in North Texas to enable a patient to achieve a pregnancy and resultant live birth using this process.
As a premier program with a dedicated medical team that are at the forefront in preserving fertility along with one of the most highly-respected certified embryology laboratories in the nation, we are uniquely qualified to offer the latest treatments in fertility preservation that give our patients hope and safeguard their fertility so they can build a family when ready.
Who may benefit from Egg Freezing?
There are several common scenarios that result in delayed childbearing for women such as waiting for the right mate, aiming to finish graduate studies or an advanced degree, or just wanting to wait a few more years as a single professional. Less commonly, other women may feel pressure to conceive earlier than their social situation would prefer because they have a family history of premature menopause, more correctly called premature ovarian failure, where they are predisposed to run out of eggs in their 20s or 30s. In addition, some women are faced with the news that they have to undergo medical treatments such as chemotherapy that will likely diminish their fertility and so they opt to preserve their fertility with egg freezing.
The benefit of egg freezing is that a woman can have this procedure performed prior to having a sperm source and can have some peace of mind that her frozen eggs will have the reproductive potential of her age at the time of the retrieval rather that the later date of when she decides to conceive. Women who have their younger eggs on reserve should therefore, have a better chance of conceiving a normal pregnancy than they would statistically using their own eggs at a later age.
Fertility Preservation for Patients Undergoing Treatments for Cancer
The Fertility Specialists of Texas Program’s team of experienced and compassionate health care professionals is focused on quickly providing you with the information you need so that you are fully informed of your fertility preservation options prior to cancer treatment.
Treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs or radiation may lead to irreversible reproductive failure in some patients. The oncology or hematology specialist can usually offer guidance on the probability that a specific treatment protocol will result in infertility. Based on the prognosis for future fertility, cancer patients may then elect sperm or egg cryopreservation (egg freezing) to help retain the possibility of pregnancy at some future date. Cryobanking can cause a delay in the start of the cancer therapy of 1-7 days for men and 14-45 days for women.
Fertility Specialists of Texas offers financial assistance for fertility preservation
At Fertility Specialists of Texas, we are pleased to offer our services at a discounted rate for recently diagnosed cancer patients wanting to preserve their fertility for the future.
If you have a recent cancer diagnosis, we will see you within 24- 48 hours of that diagnosis. Please notify our staff by phone of your diagnosis and we will initiate the process of getting your medical records to facilitate your initial consultation.
Today, many options exist for fertility preservation; your cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to wreck your dreams of having children. Our physicians will coordinate with your cancer specialist to determine whether a delay in cancer treatment for purposes of fertility preservation is compatible with your treatment strategy. If you have cancer and are interested in fertility preservation, ask your Oncologist to refer you to our physicians to discuss the impact of cancer treatment on your fertility.
What is the process of oocyte cryopreservation?
Egg freezing requires that the patient undergo ovarian stimulation and surgical procedures to acquire the oocytes. The oocytes are chilled by ultra-rapid freezing called vitrification. When the patient is ready to use her eggs at a later date and her physician has approved pregnancy, then, upon thawing, in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures are needed to inseminate the eggs and to culture resultant embryos. Either sperm from her partner or from a sperm donor may be used to fertilize the eggs through a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Selected embryos may then be transferred into the patient’s uterus.
How is the egg freezing procedure performed?
We will begin by giving you a series of fertility medications that will encourage your ovaries to grow and develop more eggs than usual. During this time, we will carefully monitor you with blood tests and ultrasound to see when your eggs are ready to be retrieved. Removing the eggs is a brief procedure that takes less than half-an-hour and is performed under a light anesthetic. Typically, between 10 to 20 eggs are recovered from the ovaries.
After the eggs are collected they will be frozen the same day using a rapid freezing technique called vitrification. This novel technology allows freezing of the eggs without formation of ice inside the cell keeping the eggs in the state of suspended animation indefinitely.
When pregnancy is desired, months or years later, the eggs are thawed and fertilized via Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). The resulting embryos are then transferred to the uterus. Fertility Specialists of Texas is experienced in this process and is one of the first clinics in North Texas with a pregnancy using this process.
What options are available for men for fertility preservation?
Sperm can be cryopreserved and stored at very low temperature for future attempts at conception using intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF. Semen cryopreservation is commonly performed when the male partner will not be available for timed insemination, for men who experience difficulty in the process of semen collection, and in men whose reproductive health is threatened by medical treatments such as cancer therapy.
The process for sperm cryopreservation is identical to the process for semen analysis, and requires that the male partner give a semen sample which is then processes by the Andrology lab. Depending on the reason for sperm cryopreservation, it will sometimes be recommended that the man freeze more than one sample for use with future fertility treatment.
Ejaculated sperm found in semen have been cryopreserved clinically since the 1980’s. Depending on the number and quality of the thawed semen, the attempt to produce a pregnancy in the partner will either be by simple timed insemination or by in vitro fertilization.
Testicular sperm can be recovered surgically from some but not all men with azoospermia (absence of sperm in the semen). Testicular sperm, when present, are usually suited to cryopreservation but will be few in number and will therefore, require IVF with ICSI to attempt to create a pregnancy. Our fertility clinic provides semen cryopreservation services.
The studies to date indicate that the cryopreservation process itself does not increase the risk of birth defects in children conceived with thawed sperm.
h.e.a.r.t.beat Fertility Preservation Program
Hearing you have cancer suddenly changes everything but fortunately we live in a time when cancer is frequently not only treatable, but curable. For women of child bearing age, future fertility may be of concern. Fertility preservation treatments can help. Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy have partnered together to create a solution for providing the necessary fertility medications.
A donation from Ferring Pharmaceuticals will allow you to receive specific fertility medications for your fertility preservation treatment at no cost. There are no forms for you to fill out and no financial requirements to meet. Just have your doctor send us your prescription and we will take care of the rest.
To qualify for h.e.a.r.t.beat:
- No financial requirements*
- US Citizen or permanent resident
- Diagnosis of cancer
- Cancer treatment has not been initiated
- No recent chemotherapy treatment within prior six months
- Oncologist and reproductive endocrinologist determine that fertility preservation treatment is medically appropriate
* Certain restrictions may apply. Federal healthcare program beneficiaries, including but not limited to State Medicaid and State Medicaid managed care recipients, as well as residents of Massachusetts, New Jersey and Arkansas are ineligible for the program.
Please Contact Fertility Specialists of Texas if you are interested in applying for this assistance program.
Fertile Hope – Nonprofit organization with a wide range of fertility resources
CancerCare.org – National nonprofit organization that provides free, professional support services for anyone affected by cancer.
Young Survival Coalition – Young women united against breast cancer
ASCO – American Society of Clinical Oncology