Delayed childbearing has created a gap between the age of peak fertility and when family building is initiated. Emergency and elective fertility preservation technologies, which involve collecting, freezing and banking eggs, have emerged over the last few years to narrow this gap by extending and/or expanding female reproductive potential.
Why is fertility preservation important?
The preservation of female fertility is based on the principle that the younger a woman is, the higher the chance her eggs are of quality and have the potential to produce a healthy child. When a woman is born, she has about 1 to 2 million eggs. With aging, her ovarian reserve decreases gradually to reach 300 000 eggs at puberty (15%), 240 000 at the age of 30 years and about 60 000 at the age of 40 years.
The preservation of female fertility (freezing and banking eggs) is set in a medical context where, among women aged 20-40 years, more than 60 000 invasive cancers are discovered each year in North America. And the risk of cancer increases exponentially with age.
The preservation of female fertility is also set in a social context where, nowadays, more than 50% of women who wish to become pregnant have more than 30 years. More and more women want to put off having a family and are considering freezing their eggs. Many single women know they want to be a mother someday — when the time is right. So, when time has come, healthy eggs which have been preventively frozen-stored, can be thawed and fertilized in the laboratory with the hope of starting a family.
What are the main indications of female fertility preservation?
- Fertility preservation in the setting of malignancy or a non-malignant condition where the disease or its treatment may incite irreversible infertility:
- Malignancies*: gynecological cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, etc. (Cost of fertility preservation covered by the RAMQ.)
- Non-malignant: mosaic Turner’s syndrome, lupus, sickle cell, benign ovarian disease such as endometriosis
- Donor-oocyte banking:
- Similar to sperm banking
- Extending fertility potential for women not in a relationship conductive to create embryos, childbearing or parenting
- IVF-related issues:
- No sperm day of retrieval
- Hyperstimulation of ovaries
- A means to create fewer “extra” embryos
- Natural or unnatural disasters
- Military deployment
Egg freezing and banking technologies have advanced swiftly over the last few years. They have moved from an experimental to mainstream treatment in the background of markedly improved egg cryopreservation success.
Whether it is elective or in the context of an emergency, fertility preservation is a multistep complex process which involves at FERTILYS, skilled, dedicated personnel, all working together toward a shared goal of providing you with the highest standard of care in a safe, calm and caring environment.
To get more information regarding this topic, contact FERTILYS