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Fertility Preservation Treatment Options

We offer a variety of fertility preservation options. The recommended fertility preservation method depends on your age, gender, and your specific circumstance.

Fertility preservation options for women and girls

There are several fertility preservation methods we would recommend to women and girls:

  • Egg banking (oocyte cryopreservation)
    This method entails hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and produce multiple mature eggs. Eggs are harvested while you are under anesthesia, through a minor surgical procedure. Subsequently, they are frozen and stored until you wish to become pregnant. At that time, they can be fertilized with your partner’s sperm or a donor’s sperm, and the resulting embryo is transferred to your uterus. Embryos may also be transferred to a gestational carrier, if you are unable to carry the pregnancy yourself. We can assist in finding a gestational carrier (a woman who can carry and deliver a child for you) should you choose this option.
  • Embryo banking
    This method is considered a standard of care for fertility preservation. It offers an excellent chance for future pregnancy. Hormone injections stimulate ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs. Eggs are harvested while you are under anesthesia, through a minor surgical procedure. Harvested eggs are then fertilized with sperm from your partner or a donor, and the resulting embryos are frozen until you are ready to become pregnant. Embryos may be transferred to your uterus or a gestational carrier, if you are unable to carry the pregnancy yourself. We can assist in finding a gestational carrier should you choose this option.
  • Ovarian tissue banking.
    In this method, which is considered experimental, tissue from the patient’s ovary is removed in a surgical procedure and frozen for possible future use as a source of eggs. Ovarian tissue banking has led to more than 130 successful pregnancies worldwide so far. It is an option that parents may wish to consider for a prepubertal daughter with a cancer diagnosis. The tissue is frozen until such time as the woman wishes to become pregnant. Then, the tissue is transplanted back into the woman’s body. Studies are underway to find out if the ovarian tissue can be used in a laboratory to produce mature eggs, which could then be fertilized to create embryos.
  • Ovarian suppression for cancer treatments. If your cancer treatment can’t be delayed, we can choose a technique called ovarian suppression. In this process, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) injections are given during the time you are receiving chemotherapy. This treatment may potentially decrease the toxic effect of chemotherapy on your ovaries.

    Fertility preservation options for men and boys

    There are two fertility preservation methods available for men and boys:

    • Sperm cryopreservation
      Sperm from an ejaculate are frozen for future intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). For those who are unable to ejaculate due to illness, nerve injury, anxiety, or inexperience, our physicians are experts in assisted ejaculation techniques to help harvest sperm. Some patients will not produce sperm in their ejaculate due to illness, yet they may have sperm in their testicles. In such cases, surgical sperm extraction techniques can be used prior to cancer treatment. If a patient’s sperm count has been reduced because of earlier disease or treatment, it may be possible to search the ejaculate for rare sperm that may still be viable and freeze them.
    • Testicular tissue preservation
      This is an experimental procedure in which tissue from the patient’s testicle is removed and frozen for possible future use as a source of sperm cells. This is an option that parents may wish to consider for a prepubertal son with a cancer diagnosis. A sample of testicular tissue is taken and frozen for future use as a possible source of sperm cells grown in vitro. This is an active area of research at Stanford School of Medicine.

    Contact us to learn more or if you are ready to make an appointment: (844) 662-9436
    fertilitypreservation@stanfordchildrens.org

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