PNWF Center for Fertility Preservation

by | Jul 2, 2021 | Fertility Preservation, News at PNWF, Resources

At the PNWF Center for Fertility Preservation, we offer the most advanced fertility preservation options available. Patients seek to preserve their fertility for personal and medical reasons. We use cutting-edge technology and patient-centered care to meet your individual fertility goals.

What Is Fertility Preservation?

Fertility preservation involves the removal and cryopreservation of reproductive tissue for later use in assisted reproduction. In other words: retrieving and freezing eggs, sperm, or embryos, to later thaw and use to get pregnant.

Fertility preservation is not a guarantee of a future pregnancy. Success rates vary between patients, and depend on the initial amount and quality of the eggs, sperm, or embryos.

Who Can Preserve Their Fertility?

Our Center helps anyone interested in fertility preservation, for any reason. Common reasons for pursuing fertility preservation include:

  • A recent cancer diagnosis
  • The decision to delay childbearing for personal reasons
  • An upcoming hormonal or medical gender transition
  • An upcoming military deployment

Age, hazardous work conditions, hormonal medications, and treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation can all negatively affect fertility. Freezing eggs, sperm, or embryos can provide a potential future path to parenthood if natural conception is no longer an option.

Fertility Preservation Services

The Center for Fertility Preservation currently offers the following services:

Egg Freezing

Over the past few decades, egg freezing has become increasingly successful and less costly. As a result, more and more patients seek to freeze their eggs for medical or personal reasons. Fertility in people with ovaries decreases with age, dropping off significantly after age 35. This is due to a decrease in egg quantity and quality over time. However, frozen eggs typically retain their condition at the time of freezing. This means that patients who, for instance, freeze their eggs before age 35 and then use them to try to conceive at age 40 may have better chances of success compared to trying to conceive naturally.

The process of retrieving eggs for freezing usually takes around 2 weeks and involves injecting hormonal medications and a minor procedure. In general, egg freezing works best for women younger than 38 years old who have a sufficient supply of remaining eggs. However, each patient is different, and certain conditions can benefit even more from egg freezing. Talk with your fertility team about whether egg freezing is right for you.

Sperm Freezing

Typically, patients freeze sperm to prepare for a potential upcoming change in their reproductive fertility. For instance, this might include upcoming cancer treatments that can destroy sperm production, a vasectomy, or being away in a hazardous situation such as a military deployment. Sperm usually does not decrease quite as dramatically as eggs do in quality and quantity with age, but fertility does still decline over time. Freezing sperm at younger ages can provide additional options in your future.

Sperm freezing typically takes only one office visit at the Center for Fertility Preservation to provide a sperm sample.

Embryo Banking

Embryo banking is similar to egg or sperm freezing. However, the egg and sperm are first combined in a lab to develop into an embryo. Once this fertilization takes place, the egg and sperm cannot be separated. For this reason, embryo banking is typically used by couples, or single parents using donor sperm, who want more than one child. In these cases, multiple embryos can be developed, with one or more used to conceive a first child and the others frozen to use for a second baby in the future.

Embryo banking involves the two-week egg stimulation and retrieval cycle as well as a sperm sample. Once frozen, embryos can be genetically tested if desired.

PNWF Fertility Preservation Specialists

The Director of the Center is Dr. Julie Lamb, a reproductive endocrinologist and widely-recognized leader in the field of fertility preservation. Dr. Lamb advocates strongly for educating and empowering patients about their reproductive options, and has published several academic and patient-centered pieces on the subject. Her guide to egg freezing covers everything you need to know about egg cryopreservation.

How Do I Get Started in Preserving My Fertility?

Patients interested in fertility preservation should schedule a new patient consultation to discuss their options. These visits often include a medical and family history, discussing your specific fertility goals, and fertility testing including ultrasounds and blood testing. We will also talk about the preservation and in vitro fertilization (IVF) processes and success rates so you have a clear understanding. Patients with testes can also call the Andrology Lab at 206-515-0002.

Understanding your reproductive health is key to making empowered decisions about your fertility future. At the PNWF Center for Fertility Preservation, we’re here to help. Reach out to us today.