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Waiting to Start a Family? Learn More About Cryopreservation

Posted in Egg Freezing

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If you and your partner plan to have a family but want to wait until you’re more established, financially secure, or for any other reason, you may want to consider freezing your embryos  (fertilized eggs). Women can also choose to freeze her eggs (before they are fertilized). 

This process is known as cryopreservation. 

An illustration of the embryo freezing or cryopreservation process.

These embryos are created with healthy sperm and eggs from you and your partner, using in vitro fertilization (IVF). A donor may be used if one of the parents has difficulty producing sperm or eggs.

Why Consider Freezing Embryos?

If you are waiting until you can better provide for a family, the number one reason to think about cryopreservation is simply that aging adversely affects fertility.

Cryopreservation helps maintain your ability to become parents well into your late 30s or 40s.

Other Reasons for Partners to Freeze Their Embryos

Besides waiting to be older or more stable to start a family, there are other reasons you may want to freeze your embryos:

  • Before undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • Before starting hormone therapy or having gender-affirmation surgery
  • When one or both partners has a medical condition that may eventually affect their fertility
  • When focusing on your career, educational goals, or when you haven’t met the right person
  • When one or both partners is at a higher risk of injury (due to military deployment or a high-risk occupation)

When You Are Ready to Become Parents

Only one embryo is usually transferred into the mother’s uterus to lower the chances that she becomes pregnant with multiples during in vitro fertilization (IVF). Any remaining embryos should stay frozen to use in the future.

Even if you didn’t start with frozen embryos, doctors often advise freezing unused embryos for subsequent pregnancies or if something should go wrong with the original transfer. 

Doing so saves you the cost of undergoing an additional egg retrieval process, embryo culture, and additional expenses that go along with IVF.

Additional Cryopreservation Benefits

  • Genetic testing – Genetic disease and chromosomal disorder testing can be performed on the embryo, but it must be frozen while this screening is being processed.
  • Fertility preservation for single women – Ovarian reserves decrease as a woman ages. A single woman can choose to have her eggs fertilized with donor sperm and then freeze her embryos to use when she’s ready.
  • Embryos can be kept frozen indefinitely – You won’t be watching the clock, worrying about how your embryos are doing, as there is no expiration date on frozen embryos.

Can Freezing Embryos Damage Them?

Freezing embryos is very safe and reliable. While some damage to frozen embryos is possible, it is usually a very small potion, and does not significantly affect your chances of a successful pregnancy via your embryos.

Fertility preservation container for embryos, sperm, and eggs.

Frozen embryos often result in a successful transfer; however, intended parents can easily try again with the remaining frozen embryos if the initial attempt is unsuccessful.

Other Ways to Preserve Fertility

Couples and individuals who want to start a family in the future can also benefit from freezing their sperm or eggs. This option is especially helpful for the following individuals:

  • Those undergoing cancer treatment 
  • Those with autoimmune diseases
  • Those with endometriosis and uterine fibroids 
  • Transgender individuals

These conditions or their treatment can lead to problems with fertility, as can hormones and gender-affirming surgery.

State-of-the-Art Reproductive Fertility Treatments and Cryopreservation in Southern California

Dr. Peyman Saadat specializes in reproductive endocrinology and infertility with offices in Los Angeles and Riverside Counties. He maintains offices in West Hollywood, Riverside, and Glendora and is double board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. 

Call one of Dr. Saadat’s Southern California offices today to learn more about freezing your embryos with cryopreservation and other fertility preservation options.