Egg freezing, embryo freezing and sperm freezing
What is fertility preservation?
Fertility preservation is the cryopreservation (freezing) of human reproductive tissue (commonly known as egg freezing, embryo freezing and sperm freezing) to be used later for in vitro fertilization (IVF) therapies or intra uterine insemination (IUI).
In ARMS’ on-site laboratory, human tissue – such as semen, eggs (oocytes) and embryos (fertilized eggs) – are frozen with the use of liquid nitrogen to temperatures below -350 degrees (Fahrenheit) and stored in specially designed tanks. When our patients are ready to begin a family, we will thaw the tissues and perform the desired fertility procedure to help our patients become pregnant.
Egg freezing and using frozen donor eggs
We are also the leaders in egg freezing (vitrification), allowing women to preserve their own eggs so that they may use them at a later time in life. For women who are ready to have a baby now and need to search for an egg donor, we offer high-quality frozen donor eggs through our donor database.
Watch Dr. Drew Moffitt, co-medical director of Arizona Reproductive Medicine Specialists, explain the advancements and benefits of egg freezing, using frozen eggs in fertility treatment and our partnership with Donor Egg Bank USA (DEB USA) on Fox 10 News.
Who needs fertility preservation and why?
Cancer treatment patients
Fertility preservation can help women, men and children overcome infertility caused by cancer treatments. Almost one million reproductive-aged people in the U.S. receive cancer diagnoses annually. Many have fertility concerns related to their treatment because cancer treatments may destroy eggs or sperm.
The patient’s reproductive damage depends on the type and length of cancer treatment. Surgically removing any reproductive organs due to cancer will cause infertility, but severe damage may also occur from radiation treatments or chemotherapy. Sometimes sperm production in men can recover after radiation or cancer drugs, but often a woman’s eggs do not recover and premature menopause may occur.
When diagnosed with cancer, a patient’s first goal is to cure the cancer; however, there are several options that may help preserve fertility before and after cancer treatments that should be considered.
Fertility can be affected by a number of different factors, including lifestyle, career, or age. Age impacts fertility in men and women. The ability to preserve reproductive tissues (most commonly eggs, embryos and sperm) is a great option for young adults who want to wait to have a family but know that they might want children later in life.
Sometimes the number or quality of eggs a woman has is lower than would be predicted by her age. ARMS offers a Biological Clock test for women to check their fertility biological clock to make informed decisions about family-building options.
ARMS is one of the few infertility clinics in Arizona to offer cryopreservation – commonly known as egg freezing, sperm freezing and embryo freezing – as well as on-site storage through cryopreservation. These reproductive tissues can be stored indefinitely in liquid nitrogen for use at a future date.
Recent advancements in medical science allow our highly trained Embryologist in our on-site laboratory to use the process of vitrification to freeze a woman’s eggs for the future. Known clinically as “human oocyte cryopreservation,” the egg freezing process includes extracting, freezing and storing a woman’s eggs (oocytes); then, months or years later, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.
The first frozen embryo baby was born in 1984. Embryo freezing is a well-established form of assisted conception treatment. Often freezing healthy embryos after egg retrieval and fertilization is preferable to allow the patient’s body to recover from the first stage of IVF and prepare for the second stage – the embryo transfer, making the treatment safer for mom and baby.
Surplus embryos from a treatment cycle of IVF can be frozen and later thawed for additional opportunities for a pregnancy, either for additional transfers for the first child, or for future children.
ARMS is committed to providing you with the highest chance for a pregnancy while also reducing your risks for multiples. Our blastocyst (day 5) freezing program is very successful. These blastocyst embryos have an implantation rate that is about double that of a day 3 embryo. We also have many successes from embryos frozen at other clinics and then brought to us for expert thawing and transfer.
Freezing of sperm is a routine procedure at ARMS. We not only freeze sperm for future use in inseminations, but also for use in sperm injection. This means we freeze sperm from the ejaculate and sperm retrieved from the testis. Working with a urologist, we can extract sperm even in cases where men have no sperm in the ejaculate. This sperm can then be used in IVF for the production of embryos and subsequent implantation.