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Fertility Preservation

For health or personal reasons, you may need to postpone having a biological child. Experts at the Fertility & Reproductive Medicine Center have excellent success rates with fertility preservation: saving and protecting eggs, sperm and reproductive tissue for future use.

Reasons to Consider Fertility Preservation

There may be a variety of reasons for you to choose fertility preservation, such as:

  • You are facing cancer treatment or other medical treatment that may damage eggs or sperm.
  • You want to delay having a child but want to preserve the option to use your younger, more viable eggs.
  • You want to create embryos to freeze and later transfer to a gestational carrier.
  • Your plans to grow your family may include having another child after the age of 38, when conceiving may become more difficult.

Types of Fertility Preservation

We offer several methods of fertility preservation, including:

Embryo Freezing

Embryo freezing, or cryopreservation, starts with in vitro fertilization (IVF). A doctor removes eggs from the ovaries and fertilizes the eggs with sperm from a partner or donor to create the embryos. During cryopreservation, the embryos are frozen and stored for your future use.

If you choose to freeze embryos at the Fertility & Reproductive Medicine Center, you will find:

  • Experienced embryologists: Our specialists have been successfully freezing embryos for decades and continue to use the most up-to-date cryopreservation techniques.
  • Latest technology: In our lab, our fertility specialists use several new cube-style incubators that can safely store embryos from multiple patients. The incubators allow our technologist to access embryos for one patient at a time – without risking damage to the remaining embryos by exposing them to the environment.

Success rates: Non-donor IVF using frozen embryos

Success rates using frozen embryos have improved greatly, thanks to medical advancements in cryopreservation. Data for the Fertility & Reproductive Medicine Center is verifiable by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).

Success Rates* < 35 Years 35-37 Years 38-40 Years 41-42 Years
Clinical Pregnancy Rate 63% 34% 48% 25%
Live Birth Rate 55% 20% 40% 25%
Live Birth with Twins/Multiples 16% 0% 20% 0%

*Pregnancy and birth rates listed above are measured per egg retrieval and based on 2015 data. Ages are of women at the time of freezing.

Oocyte (Egg) Freezing

This procedure involves taking fertility medications to stimulate ovulation, harvesting oocytes (unfertilized eggs) and then freezing (cryopreserving) them. This method of fertility preservation may be right for you if you want to use a partner’s or donor’s sperm in the future – but not now – to become pregnant.

Oocyte freezing is also an option for women who are facing cancer treatment that might damage their eggs. Read more about cancer-related fertility preservation.

Women choose oocyte freezing at the Fertility & Reproductive Medicine Center because we offer:

  • Individualized treatment plans: There is much debate over what is the optimal age for freezing your eggs. Our fertility specialists will work with you to determine whether the time is right for you. We design a customized plan that aligns with your future fertility goals.
  • Latest techniques: Thanks to recent improvements in cryopreservation techniques, elective egg freezing shows increased success in pregnancy and birth rates. Our experts continue to refine our freezing techniques to ensure that your eggs will still be viable when you are ready to use them.

Sperm Banking and Freezing

The process of sperm banking and freezing (cryopreservation) starts with a man providing semen samples. The semen, which contains sperm, is frozen and stored for later use in achieving pregnancy. You may choose to freeze your sperm for a number of reasons, including:

  • Avoiding sperm damage due to certain types of medical treatments: Certain types of cancer treatment (such as chemotherapy or radiation), hormone therapy (for male to female transgender transition), or other treatments may damage sperm. Similarly, you may want to bank your sperm if you are having a vasectomy (surgery to block the vas deferens, or sperm ducts, to prevent pregnancy).
  • Travel to certain areas: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated certain areas as presenting a high risk of contracting Zika virus. If you are traveling to any of these areas and want to father a child in the next year, you should consider banking sperm before you go.
  • Providing a backup source of sperm: If you travel frequently, are being deployed for military service or have difficulty collecting sperm, you can freeze sperm to make it available during an IVF cycle.

Contact Us

To make an appointment with a Washington University fertility and reproductive medicine specialist at the Women & Infants Center, call 855.925.0631.