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Preservation of fertility

The advances derived from the use of Cryobiology applied to Human Reproduction Medicine are the best option for the preservation of male and female fertility both in patients with medical conditions, in healthy patients wishing to postpone maternity and patients with reproductive problems.

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Indications

  • Patients in need of undergoing oncologic treatment
  • To postpone maternity for social reasons
  • In patients undergoing assisted reproduction treatments

Preservation of fertility in patients in need of oncologic treatment:

Currently, thanks to the high indexes of cancer healing we face the need of fulfilling the reproductive wish of these people after the possible loss of fertility during chimio/radiotherapy treatments. Freezing techniques help to address the sterility that may result from oncologic treatments and offer the possibility of preserving. Cryopreservation of oocytes or sperm prior to oncologic treatment helps cancer patients to preserve their fertility enhancing their quality of life.

Preservation of fertility in healthy patients for social reasons:

The reproductive potential of a healthy woman is known to decrease physiologically with age, especially as from 35-37 years, as opposed to healthy men who can produce sperm until a later age.

Undoubtedly, then, women can more frequently benefit from these strategies to keep their eggs for future use (whether for laboral, socioeconomic or family reasons, or due to the absence of a partner). Men are advised to freeze sperm before undergoing a vasectomy. Hence, egg vitrification allows healthy women to voluntarily choose the best moment to become mothers according to their reproductive wish in different points in their lives.

Preservation of fertility in patients in need of Assisted reproduction treatments:

Some patients with repoductive problems can benefit from gamet freezing to face certain clinical events or situations related to assisted reproduction procedures. For example, in cases where the partner cannot be present on the day the gamets are needed, sperm can be frozen in advance for opportune use. Other instances are testicular biopsy freezing, the desire to freeze in gamet stage rather than in embryo stage due to moral reasons or for the creation of Egg Banks and Sperm Banks.

Additionally, patients where fresh embryo transfer is contraindicated whether due to the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or the presence of a non receptive endometrium, etc.

Gamet freezing techniques (oocytes and sperm)

Oocyte freezing through vitrification

Egg vitrification is the technique that yields better survival rates in the freezing/defreezing process of these cells, with 85-98% of vitrified eggs overcoming the vitrification/desvitrification process successfully. Vitrification prevents the damage the oocyte would suffer in the moment of freezing due to the quick cooling and the cryoprotectants used in the protocolos followed. Hence, the eggs that survive and fertilize keep their implantation potential and their capacity to produce pregnancy very similarly to that of fresh eggs.

The steps to take for egg vitrification are similar to those of an In-Vitro Fertilization treatment cycle: ovarian stimulation and egg puncture/retrieval. Then, once in the lab, the mature eggs are immediately vitrified and kept as long as desired in the Egg Bank. In order to use them, they are desvitrified as necessary to be fertilized, and the obtained embryos with high implantation potential are transferred to the uterus.

Semen freezing

Semen has been frozen and kept at low temperatures to later recover its viability for decades now. This is a higly proven and easy process for the man as it only entails the production of a semen sample. The semen is prepared for freezing with specific mediums and cryoprotectants and it is subsequently kept at -196º C in straws with high biological safety ensuring good tracking in all the process.