Female fertility begins to decline in the early 30s. By the time a woman reaches her 40s, her chances of conceiving are significantly lower. For women who want to have children later in life, fertility preservation can be an option. Here’s what to know about the process, how it works, and how to decide if female fertility preservation is right for you.
What Is Female Fertility Preservation?
Female fertility preservation includes any treatment, procedure, or preventative designed to protect a woman’s ability to conceive a biological child. This can include both the protection of eggs (oocytes) and the uterine environment.
There are many reasons why a woman may want to preserve her fertility. She may be single and not ready to have children yet, but wants to keep her options open for the future. Or she may have a medical condition, such as cancer, or may be undergoing treatment that could damage her eggs, such as chemotherapy.
Most reproductive specialists agree that the best time to preserve fertility is before age 35. Oocytes are of the highest quality in the early 20s, and successful preservation can occur at any point before the decline in egg quality due to aging.
Types Of Female Fertility Preservation
Fertility preservation for women can be either medical or surgical. Medical preservation involves using medication to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs in one cycle. The eggs are then retrieved through a minor surgical procedure called follicular aspiration and frozen for future use. This type of fertility preservation is typically used for women who have not yet reached menopause but are at risk of losing their fertility due to age or illness.
Surgical fertility preservation involves removing part of the ovary containing immature eggs and freezing them for future use. This type of surgery is typically used for women who have already reached menopause or are about to undergo cancer treatment that could damage their ovaries irreparably.
Women may or may not go through fertility treatments prior to the process of harvesting and preserving their eggs. Whether or not these treatments are necessary depends on factors including but not limited to the quality and number of available oocytes.
Cryopreservation For Women
Once the oocytes are harvested, they are then frozen in liquid nitrogen in a process called cryopreservation. They may be preserved on their own, or they may be fertilized in a laboratory and then preserved. When women can have their eggs preserved depends largely on the reason for the preservation and medical history.
For example, embryo cryopreservation can be done before starting some types of cancer treatment or after, but not during. With some types of radiation therapy, eggs may only be retrieved before treatment, because the area becomes too damaged to do so after.
Benefits Of Fertility Preservation For Women
Fertility preservation offers many potential benefits to women who wish to maintain their reproductive potential. First and foremost, it provides women with more choices and control over their reproductive futures, regardless of what type of relationship they’re in or where they are in their careers. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety during difficult times.
Fertility preservation is an increasingly popular choice for women who want to delay childbearing. There are many different ways to preserve fertility. The best option for each woman will depend on her individual circumstances.
Our reproduction specialists are dedicated to helping your family grow when you intend it to. We can help you discover many options for fertility preservation, Melbourne IVF treatments, diagnostic testing, and more to help you.
Call today for an appointment by dialing 321.751.4673. You can also fill out our contact form and one of our clinicians will get right back to you.