There are several options available for female fertility preservation through Queensland Fertility Group.
This specialty reproductive service can help you if you are in one of these groups:
- Women who require cancer treatment, and with early diagnosis can choose to undergo IVF and freeze their eggs for future use.
- Couples who, for religious or ethical reasons, oppose the freezing of embryos, and prefer the freezing of eggs.
- Women aware that fertility declines with age, who do not have a partner and may be concerned about their future fertility.
How it works
Patients undertake an IVF treatment cycle where the ovaries are artificially stimulated with a course of injections to produce oocytes (eggs). These eggs are then removed in a minor surgical procedure and frozen for storage.
When you are ready to use your frozen eggs, they are thawed and then fertilised with sperm, either from your partner or a donor. A healthy fertilised egg will develop into an embryo, which is then transferred to your uterus, and you may become pregnant.
As the technique for egg freezing is relatively new, it is not possible to give precise figures for the chance of pregnancy after freezing. We do know that the success rates for pregnancy using frozen sperm or frozen embryos are higher, as eggs are more difficult to freeze than sperm or embryos.
Other factors, especially the woman’s age when her eggs are frozen, have an important effect on the chance of pregnancy: the younger the woman, the better the chance. Egg freezing in women over the age of 38 is expected to have a lower chance of pregnancy.
You can also undergo IVF treatment before undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and have any resulting embryos frozen for future pregnancy attempts – even years later.
Embryos tolerate freezing considerably better than ovarian tissue or egg freezing, so subsequent embryo survival and the chance of a pregnancy is much higher. Pregnancy success rates can depend on the age of your eggs at the time of IVF treatment. We recommend freezing several embryos to factor in current survival and development rates.
Freezing ovarian tissue
This involves removing and freezing a small piece of tissue from one ovary. Then, when you are ready to conceive, the ovarian tissue slices are grafted surgically back into your pelvis. Some months later, the grafted ovarian tissues should begin producing reproductive hormones and follicular development.
At this stage, pregnancy may be achieved either with ovarian stimulation and IVF, or perhaps even naturally.
This is still considered an experimental procedure, and research is ongoing to refine the process before it becomes a routine fertility treatment.