Residents of the San Francisco, Novato, and North Bay areas who are concerned about maintaining their ability to have children, can have a consultation on fertility preservation procedures with the highly experienced fertility experts at the Lane Fertility Institute.
Fertility Preservation Q&A
In What Situations Should a Person Consider Fertility Preservation?
Women are the majority of patients who inquire about fertility preservation procedures as they are concerned that their prime reproductive years will pass before they are able to consider starting a family. Such patients may know that having children will not occur until much later in life and are concerned that their fertility will be compromised at that point. However, women and men who are diagnosed with cancer, may also want to preserve their eggs or sperm before beginning chemo or radiotherapy which could have serious and permanent negative effects on their future fertility. Other chronic, non-malignant diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, may require regular medication that is also detrimental to reproductive cell function.
How is Fertility Preserved?
For women, the ovaries are stimulated into producing several mature eggs at once with follicle stimulating hormones. Once the eggs are matured and about to be released, they are harvested by a trained fertility specialist who uses an ultrasound probe to guide a needle through the vaginal wall and into the follicle of the ovary. The thin needle withdraws the follicular fluid, which is then examined by an embryologist to find the eggs. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. The eggs are then vitrified, or flash frozen, and stored until the patient would like to use the eggs for the rest of the IVF treatment.
For men, they abstain from ejaculation for two to five days, and then masturbate into a sterile cup. The semen is then washed, which means that the sperm are extracted from the rest of the seminal fluids and frozen for later use.
Are There any Risks Associated with Fertility Preservation?
The most common risks associated with fertility preservation techniques involve complications from the stimulation of the ovaries or potential bleeding or infection from the actual egg retrieval. These complications are very rare and in many cases are outweighed by the risk of compromised fertility later in life.