This is a growing area due to the improved survival rate following cancer treatments. Here, fertility treatments are used to obtain and freeze the gametes before patients commence their oncology treatment.
Eggs can be frozen to be used at a later stage or couples may choose to freeze embryos. In men, sperm storage is readily available.
Egg storage is available as an option to preserve fertility in women affected with cancer. It is currently undertaken for those about to undergo chemotherapy/radiotherapy which can affect fertility. It is also available for those who simply wish to preserve their current egg quality/fertility with a view to using their frozen eggs at a later date.
The patient will undergo an IVF cycle up to and including the egg collection. Once eggs have been collected and are deemed of a suitable quality, they can be cryopreserved using a fast freezing process called vitrification.
Sperm storage is available as an option to preserve fertility in men affected with cancer. Patient will have to undergo a semen analysis to check for the quality and freeze. Several samples may be required for sufficient sperm to be stored.