The Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey (RSCNJ) provides several options for women to preserve fertility either through freezing eggs or embryos. This technology can give a woman the potential to conceive in the future should she be unable to become pregnant naturally. Many factors can limit a woman’s ability to conceive, including:
• Planned surgery to remove the ovaries
• Radiation / Chemotherapy that can damage eggs
• Medications that can alter egg quality
• Genetic / Medical causes of rapidly decreasing egg numbers
• Advancing age
Elective delayed child bearing
The Reproductive Science of New Jersey offers treatment options in helping women address the ever-growing disconnect between the readiness to have children and the biological limitations of aging eggs. In our society, more women / couples are pursuing higher education and after attaining a specific quality of life, are then ready to create a family. In some cases, maternal age then becomes a factor in achieving this goal.
A decline in available eggs is a very common cause of infertility. Women are born with their life-long supply of eggs, and as they age their egg number naturally diminishes. While a woman is physically able to carry a pregnancy to term well into her forties, the quality of the eggs produced decline significantly starting around the age of 35.
When a woman no longer has any viable eggs left, she enters menopause. A woman can effectively slow the biological clock and increase her chances of having a genetically-linked child at an older age through egg / embryo freezing. For the first time, women can take a proactive role to protect their future fertility.
Fertility preservation prior to cancer treatment
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can speed up the natural decline in available eggs, thereby reducing or destroying the egg reserve. The risk of being infertile after cancer treatment depends upon the treatment, the woman’s fertility before treatment, and her age.
There are two options available to preserve fertility: embryo freezing and egg freezing.
Embryo freezing is the most common and most successful way to preserve your fertility. It involves a procedure called in vitro fertilization (IVF) to fertilize your eggs with sperm in a lab, and then freeze the embryos that are created. IVF may be done using your partner’s sperm or a donor’s sperm.
If you are having cancer treatment, IVF and embryo freezing are performed before you start your treatment. Embryo freezing takes approximately two weeks after the onset of your period.
When you are ready to use the embryos, about 50% to 70% of them will survive the thawing process and are available for transfer into your uterus. The pregnancy rates are approxi- mately 40% per embryo replacement, although this varies with the quality of the embryos and your age at the time they were frozen.
Egg freezing is an option for women who do not have a partner, do not want to use donor sperm, or have ethical or religious objections to embryo freezing. The process of egg freezing is similar to embryo freezing, as out- lined above.
One of our doctors removes eggs from your body after 10 to 12 days of hormone injections. The unfertilized eggs are then frozen for future use. As with embryo freezing, egg freezing takes place approximately two weeks after the onset of your period.
When you are ready to use your frozen eggs, we thaw them and fertilize the surviving eggs with your partner’s or a donor’s sperm. The resulting embryos are then transferred to your uterus.
In most cases we are able to freeze 5-15 eggs in a specific cycle, of which 70% to 80% will likely survive the freeze-thaw process. We would expect 50% to 70% of the thawed eggs to fertilize. The success rate is approximately 30% each time an embryo is created from a frozen egg and is placed into your uterus.
At the Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey we under- stand that deciding on either embryo or egg freezing is difficult. We want to help you find the best choice for your fertility journey and would be happy to discuss all your options. We have financial experts on staff that can address your financial concerns. We have financing options available for those that do not have insurance coverage for fertility procedures.