Integrating Fertility Preservation with In Vitro Fertilization

What is Fertility Preservation?

Fertility preservation is a process of saving eggs, sperm, or reproductive tissue so that they may be used later in one’s life. This is particularly helpful for people facing infertility as a side effect from treatments like chemotherapy, surgery, or any other condition that affects the reproductive system.

Methods of Fertility Preservation

Egg Freezing (Oocyte Cryopreservation):

It involves retrieving eggs from ovaries, freezing them, and then preserving them for use when required. This method is particularly suitable for women who would want to postpone their pregnancy either due to personal or medical reasons.

Sperm Cryopreservation:

This method is helpful for men who are about to go through treatments that may affect sperm count or its quality.

Embryo Cryopreservation:

Eggs are first fertilized with the help of sperm to form the embryo, which is then frozen and stored.

It is indicated for those couples who want to preserve the ability to have their genetic child in the future years.

Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation:

A small section of ovarian tissue is removed surgically, then it is frozen and is reimplanted at a later date.

This technique remains still experimental but it represents one of the most promising ways to preserve fertility among young cancer patients

Freezing testicular tissue:

Testicular tissue is obtained and frozen, mainly for prepubertal boys who are unable to produce sperm.This procedure is still under research, much like ovarian tissue freezing

How IVF works

IVF, being essentially a process, is the stimulation of ovaries in a woman to produce multiple eggs, retrieving of those eggs, fertilization of those retrieved eggs with sperm in a laboratory, and transferring the resulting embryos into the uterus. IVF can be tailored to a variety of reproductive goals when combined with fertility preservation. 

Egg Freezing:

These methods involve ovarian stimulation in women to produce multiple eggs, after which they are retrieved and frozen.

Once the lady is ready for pregnancy, these eggs are thawed and fertilized by IVF, and the embryos are transferred to her uterus.

Sperm Freezing:

Sperm is collected and then frozen for future use.

During IVF, the liquate sperm has to be used for fertilization of retrieved eggs, and the resulting embryos have to be transferred to the uterus.

Embryo Freezing and IVF

The embryos created during the IVF cycle may be frozen for future use.

This is helpful to couples for whom a decision was made to have children over a period of many years or even for those for whom starting families immediately after marriage is not yet an option.

Ovarian and Testicular Tissue Freezing and its combination with IVF

Although still in the experimental stage, ovarian and testicular tissue freezing can be combined with IVF some time later.

After the tissue is reimplanted and started working, eggs or sperms can be removed for IVF.

Benefits of Integrating Fertility Preservation with IVF

Higher Chances of Success

Fertility preservation can achieve higher successful pregnancies, especially when preserved at a time in women where egg quality is more fertile. Likewise, the use of preserved sperm facilitates men who are due for treatments affecting fertility.

Medical Necessity

In people diagnosed with cancer or other diseases whose treatment includes potentially fertility-compromising modalities, preservation of eggs, sperm, or embryos before commencing treatment can help ensure that an opportunity to procreate is at least present.


1. At what age should fertility preservation be considered?

The ideal age for fertility preservation would generally be a woman in her early or mid-30s since the quality of the eggs declines with age. However, the general rule of thumb is the younger, the better.

2. How long can eggs, sperm or embryos be stored?

Eggs and sperm  can be preserved for decades. There is no maximum, but it is important to inquire about policies at the place of storage.

3. Is fertility preservation covered by insurance?

Coverage varies by insurer and indication for preservation. Some policies cover fertility preservation if a medical treatment, usually cancer treatment, is likely to render the patient infertile.

4. Can preserved eggs or sperm be used with donor gametes?

 Yes. Preserved eggs or sperm can be mixed with donor sperm or eggs and used in IVF to create embryos for transfer.

5. What are the success rates of using frozen eggs or sperm with IVF?

Success rates differ according to age and individual considerations, but generally, the success rate for preserved eggs and sperm used in IVF is very good, especially if preserved at a younger age.

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