6 Reasons People Choose to Preserve their Fertility
[Published - Aug '22]
Fertility preservation is the term used to describe the specialist fertility treatment options available to protect an individuals’ or a couple’s ability to conceive a biological child later in life.
It is the process of saving healthy eggs, sperm, or reproductive tissue, to provide people with the ability to start a family in the future when the time IS RIGHT for them.
Similar to pressing the ‘pause’ button on our biological clocks, fertility preservation enables life-saving medical treatment to proceed, individuals the freedom to reach their potential, to embrace the here and now, or to attain specific personal goals… without the worry of treatment affected or age-declining fertility.
Here are the six common reasons why people choose to undergo fertility preservation:
You are growing older but are not yet ready to start a family
This is the area most often referred to as ‘social’ fertility preservation; as it is defined by an individuals own right to choose a fertility preservation treatment based on their unique circumstances. This is an empowered choice, to enable progression of career aspirations, lifestyle factors, life goals, not having found the right partner or concerns about age-declining fertility.
You have to have radiation treatment
Radiation treatment for cancer and other conditions can have a negative impact on your fertility, especially if it is likely to be used in the pelvic area. If you require radiation treatment but know that you wish to start a family in the future, your doctor/Oncology consultant will recommend that you consider fertility preservation before your radiation treatment commences. National guidelines for doctors advise that they should discuss how cancer and its treatment might affect your fertility. This option may also be available to children going through puberty or at least over 13 years of age.
You need to have chemotherapy treatment
Some chemotherapy medications permanently stop the ovaries from producing eggs. If this happens, you can no longer get pregnant and you may have menopausal symptoms. Similarly, for men undergoing chemotherapy, the medication can damage sperm or the sperm-forming cells (germ cells) in young boys. National guidelines for doctors advise that they should discuss how treatment might affect your fertility. This option may also be available to children going through puberty or at least over 13 years of age.
You are facing surgery which could impact fertility
Any surgery relating to the pelvic area and/or reproductive system directly can impact fertility. If the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus or testes are removed, damaged, or are developing scar tissue as a result of any surgery, this can lead to obstructions and may cause problems when trying to achieve a natural fertilisation. In these instances, you will need specialist intervention. People may opt for fertility preservation prior to, or after surgery.
You are diagnosed with a genetic condition which may decrease fertility
Genetic conditions such as hereditary early menopause - can cause infertility problems for both sexes and may result in repeated embryo implantation failure, miscarriage, or potentially lead to birth defects in a child. In all these scenarios, fertility consultants and their specialist genetics team are adept at screening individuals and couples, and planning subsequent treatment pathways to enable them to isolate and nurture healthy eggs or sperm suitable for cryopreservation. The procedure for couples would include the option for an embryologist to monitor fertilisation of an embryo suitable for freezing.
You will be undergoing Hormone Therapy (also called endocrine therapy)
Hormonal therapy medicines used in the treatments of cancer, menopause and transgender affirmation can cause periods to become irregular or stop and make the ovaries stop producing eggs. They can also decrease or stop the production of sperm.
Whatever the reason an individual or couple choose to consider preserving their fertility, treatment to perform egg freezing, sperm freezing, embryo freezing, or testicular tissue freezing can be undertaken in a relatively short period of time.
If you would like more information about Fertility Preservation Treatments through IVF Matters, visit: https://www.ivfmatters.co.uk/pages/fertility-preservation-treatment.