Fertility preservation (freezing eggs, sperm, and embryos)

Fertility preservation is a good option for both men and women who want to have children in the future. Fertility preservation can be done for both medical and social reasons. Maybe you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, or you are healthy but want to freeze your eggs or sperm for the future.
We can freeze your eggs, embryos, or sperm. In some cases, we can even freeze ovarian tissue for future use. There are many options to help you fall pregnant in the future - whether that means next year or in a decade.

What is fertility preservation?

When we freeze your sperm, eggs (oocytes), or embryos for later use, it’s called fertility preservation. The process of freezing is also called cryopreservation.

There are many types of fertility preservation. The right one for you depends on your gender and situation.

You should consider fertility preservation if your fertility might decrease and you want children in the future. For example, if you are about to undergo cancer treatment or your sperm count is dropping.

Fertility preservation for non-medical reasons is also becoming more and more popular. You can freeze your eggs or sperm if you are not ready to have a child just yet.

Sperm freezing

We freeze your sperm using liquid nitrogen. It can then be stored for up to 15 years under Western Australian law.
There are several situations where we can freeze your sperm at our fertility centre:

You are not available on the day of your female partner’s fertility treatment.

Your sperm count is declining or fluctuating.

Before you have a vasectomy.

Before you undergo chemotherapy.

"We can freeze your sperm for up to 15 years. This is especially helpful if your sperm count or quality is dropping. It’s also a good idea before you have a vasectomy - it might make your decision to have the procedure a bit easier to make."
Dr Chris Nichols, Specialist in Infertility, Perth

Egg freezing (or oocyte freezing)

We can preserve eggs for future use. Frozen eggs can be stored for up to 15 years under WA law, just like frozen sperm.
These are some of the reasons why you may choose to freeze your eggs:

Ethical reasons

You find freezing of embryos ethically unacceptable.

Ovarian failure

You are young, have declining ovarian function, and no male partner.

Cancer treatment

Before you undergo chemotherapy and if you prefer freezing your eggs instead of ovarian tissue.

Timing with a male partner

Your male partner is unable to provide a semen sample on the day of your egg collection. For example, he may be a fly-in fly-out worker.

Non-medical egg freezing

You are concerned about your fertility declining as you age. You are not ready or willing to have a child just yet, but you want to freeze your eggs for future use. You do not necessarily need a medical reason.
"There are many reasons you might want to freeze your eggs. For example, you may not be quite ready to have children yet. But you want to freeze your eggs while you’re young - just in case."
Dr Tamara Hunter, Specialist in Infertility, Perth

Embryo freezing

During in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, we collect eggs and sperm. These are used to generate embryos. As our clinic usually only transfers one embryo to the uterus with each treatment cycle, the remaining embryos can be frozen. They can then be used for future fertility treatments.

The success rate of thawing a frozen embryo is higher than thawing a frozen egg. Under WA law, embryos may be stored for 10 years. It is possible to apply for an extension to store the embryos for longer.

 

Fertility preservation for cancer patients

Image
Cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, can seriously and permanently damage the reproductive organs of both men and women. So, if you have been diagnosed with cancer, you should consider fertility preservation.
"We understand that being diagnosed with cancer is a scary and stressful time of your life. We aim to see you within 3 working days of a referral from your oncologist, surgeon, or GP. Our experienced team of fertility specialists, scientists and nurses will do everything we can to improve your chances of conceiving in the future"
Professor Roger Hart, Specialist in Fertility Preservation, Perth
Our special fertility treatments for cancer patients include:

Fast-tracked IVF and IVM cycles. We can start treatment quickly and might be able to collect eggs as early as one week later.

Storing eggs, sperm, and/or embryos.

Fertility preservation in breast cancer patients. This specifically includes low-hormone stimulation cycles to avoid high oestrogen levels.

Counselling for individuals and couples in treatment.

Temporary ovarian suppression fertility preservation. Some drugs, such as Zoladex®, are given after egg or embryo freezing to suppress ovarian function and help protect the ovaries during chemo or radiotherapy.

It is important to note your cancer treatment comes first, and fertility treatment or preservation second. Fertility treatment should never delay your cancer treatment.

We will also discuss your individual health situation. Specifically, cancer treatment may lead to early onset menopause in some women. This an important consideration before we choose the best option for you.

Key points

Non-medical fertility preservation is when you freeze your eggs or sperm for social reasons.

Medical fertility preservation can be undertaken before cancer treatment or before a vasectomy.

In WA, we are able to keep sperm and eggs frozen for 15 years and embryos for 10 years.

We are here for you