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Oncofertility

Our Fertility Preservation Program provides viable fertility options for males and females who want to preserve their eggs, sperm or ovaries for those who have been recently diagnosed with cancer or other fertility-threatening diseases.

Individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer or other conditions threatening future fertility have the option to preserve future fertility by cryopreserving (freezing) their eggs, ovarian tissue, sperm or testicular tissue prior to the start of treatment.

All options described below are performed prior to initiating chemotherapy or radiation treatment, typically on individuals who have reached puberty. However, pre-pubertal cases are considered on an individual basis.

Oocyte cryopreservation is on the forefront of advances in reproductive technology. Prior to undergoing treatment, eggs (oocytes) are retrieved with ovarian stimulating medications. Using ultrasound guidance, eggs are comfortably retrieved, transvaginally using IVF sedation, from the ovary. This is an in-office procedure which lasts approximately 30 minutes. After your eggs have been retrieved, they are cryopreserved.

The cryopreservation (freezing) process involves removing much of the water from within the egg and replacing it with a cryoprotective substance used to prevent damage to the egg as it is being frozen. Once the eggs are frozen, they will be transferred to a liquid nitrogen chamber (-190°C) where they may be stored indefinitely.

The eggs can be thawed and fertilized by direct sperm injection whenever desired. The fertilized eggs (embryos) are then transferred to the uterus to initiate a pregnancy.

Embryo cryopreservation is a procedure which has been utilized for over 20 years with excellent success. The process involves stimulating the ovaries with fertility medications, thus causing the eggs (oocytes) to mature. The eggs are then retrieved transvaginally with ultrasound guidance in an in-office procedure under anesthesia. The mature eggs are fertilized with your partner’s sperm or approved donor sperm which has been fully screened and tested.Once fertilized, the resulting embryos are frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen. When desired, the frozen embryos will be thawed and transferred into the uterus.

Sperm storage is a simple, affordable option for males who are concerned about preserving their future fertility due to possible sterility after cancer treatment or surgery. Sperm freezing, also known as sperm cryopreservation, has been practiced for many decades. Cryopreserved sperm is easily frozen in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 degrees C. The frozen sperm cells are stored in a state of “suspended animation” and all cellular activity is halted until the sperm are needed and thawed. After thawing, a majority of the healthy sperm return to the pre-frozen state. Many thousands of conceptions have resulted from the use of cryopreserved sperm. According to the American Association of Tissue Banks, cryopreservation does not appear to alter or damage the cryopreserved sperm cells.

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