Family Planning & Fertility Preservation
Family planning at a glance
- Family planning and preservation is the practice of managing one’s reproductive health through egg freezing, embryo freezing, or various other methods.
- This allows individuals and couples to delay childbearing due to age, illness, medical treatment or personal circumstances.
- It also helps protect individuals from age-related decreased fertility and can provide a sense of security for those facing medical treatments such as cancer that could compromise their ability to have children.
What is family planning & fertility preservation?
Family planning and fertility preservation increases the odds that individuals can successfully have children on their terms or later in life.
Risks of infertility, aging, sexual preferences and lifestyle can interfere with someone’s ability to have children. In addition, cancer, other diseases, and specific drug regimens and procedures can significantly decrease the likelihood that men or women can successfully conceive. Preserving fertility can provide assurance that they may be able to have children later in life.
Knowing more about these options can help individuals and couples make more informed decisions about their family’s future.
At Tennessee Reproductive Medicine, we offer a range of procedures for those at risk for infertility and those wanting to increase the odds of successful pregnancies at a more optimal time in their lives. Assisted reproductive techniques may also enable individuals or nontraditional couples to grow their family.
Fertility preservation for women
Breast cancer and aging are two of the most common reasons for women to consider fertility preservation. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments can damage eggs and significantly reduce the likelihood of pregnancy later in life.
In addition, many women delay childbearing for personal and professional reasons. Women’s eggs also diminish in quantity and quality with age, and some women may benefit from preserving their eggs at a younger age when pregnancy is desired later in life. Research shows the optimal age range for egg freezing is under 34, but egg freezing still improved success rates up to the age of 40.
Freezing eggs and/or embryos are options that can optimize the odds of having healthy children in the future.
Fertility preservation for men
Many men are increasingly aware of the need to preserve their fertility before undergoing treatments like cancer, or even just the natural process of aging.
Sperm freezing (or cryopreservation) is usually the best way to preserve fertility in males and success rates are high. This involves extracting and freezing a man’s sperm cells so that they can be used in the future for reproduction. The frozen sperm can be thawed later and used for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF.
Fertility preservation for children
Children who face cancer or major surgery have the greatest need for fertility preservation to increase their odds of becoming parents after they reach adulthood. Adolescents are typically treated with the same procedures as adults, while pre-adolescents may require techniques such as tissue freezing procedures.
Still have questions? Find more information at ReproductiveFacts.org, a site by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
LGBT family planning
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples who are building a family often require assisted reproductive treatment from a fertility specialist.
Some LGBTQ individuals may also undergo medical procedures or take medications that can affect their fertility, such as hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery. In these cases, it may be advisable to consider fertility preservation options, such as freezing eggs, sperm, or embryos, before starting these treatments.
Learn more about LGBT family building or the donor and surogacy process.