What is fertility preservation? Know benefits of advancement in reproductive medicine and more
Fertility preservation for women and girls of reproductive age: A glimpse into Hope and options. Fertility preservation is a remarkable advancement in reproductive medicine, allowing women and girls of reproductive age to control their destiny when it comes to family planning.
Fertility preservation has emerged as a ray of hope for women and girls of reproductive age who face various challenges that may compromise their ability to conceive in the future. Whether due to medical conditions, treatments, or personal choices, the option to safeguard one's fertility has become increasingly accessible and vital. In this article, we explore the significance of fertility preservation and the various options available to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive future.
Understanding Fertility Preservation
Fertility preservation is a proactive measure that involves the storage or freezing of reproductive cells, including sperm, eggs, or embryos, to be used at a later time. This approach is particularly relevant for women and girls confronting medical conditions like cancer, autoimmune diseases, or treatments such as chemotherapy, which may threaten their fertility. Additionally, it can also be a valuable choice for those who wish to delay parenthood until a more suitable time in their lives.
Fertility Preservation Options
- Egg Freezing: This process entails the extraction of a woman's eggs from her ovaries, followed by their freezing for future use. These eggs can be thawed and fertilized with sperm at a later time through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) to achieve pregnancy.
- Embryo Freezing: Embryo freezing involves fertilizing eggs with sperm to create embryos, which are then frozen for future use. This method is often chosen by couples undergoing fertility treatments.
- Ovarian Tissue Freezing: This method is primarily used for women who cannot undergo egg retrieval due to medical reasons, such as cancer treatment before puberty. Ovarian tissue is removed and preserved. This tissue can be transplanted back into the woman's body for potential use in creating embryos in the future when she is ready to conceive.
Choosing the Right Option
Selecting the most suitable fertility preservation option is a highly individualized process. Factors such as the woman's age, medical condition, treatment plan, and personal goals all play a role in determining the best approach. It is crucial to consult with a fertility specialist who can provide guidance tailored to each person's unique circumstances.
Benefits of Fertility Preservation
- Delaying Parenthood: Fertility preservation provides the woman or the couple to delay parenthood while still maintaining the option to have biological children later in life. This is particularly important for women who wish to pursue education, career advancement, or personal goals before starting a family.
- Medical Treatments: Women facing medical treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgeries that may harm reproductive organs can benefit greatly from fertility preservation. Preserving eggs, embryos, or ovarian tissue can offer the possibility of having biological children after treatment.
- Preserving Fertility in the Face of Health Conditions: Women with certain health conditions or genetic disorders do face the issues of early fertility decline or premature ovarian failure. Fertility preservation provides the option of having their own biological child at a later date.
- Empowerment and Peace of Mind: Knowing that options of fertility preservation exists provides a sense of empowerment and peace of mind and reduces anxiety about potential infertility later in life. Facing a difficult diagnosis can be overwhelming, but fertility preservation provides a glimmer of hope. It allows individuals to hold onto dreams of parenthood and a future filled with possibilities.
Fertility preservation is a remarkable advancement in reproductive medicine, allowing women and girls of reproductive age to control their destiny when it comes to family planning. Whether it's overcoming medical challenges or simply ensuring the freedom to choose when to start a family, the availability of fertility preservation options is a source of hope, empowerment, and peace of mind. While it does not guarantee future pregnancy, it provides the best chance for a fulfilling and complete family life when the time is right. Ultimately, fertility preservation is not just about preserving cells; it's about preserving dreams and the potential for a brighter future.
Dr Swati Shree, Consultant, Apollo Fertility, Varthur Road, Bengaluru