ProcreaWinnipeg, Manitoba
Procrea

Cryopreservation

Cancer therapies, like chemotherapy and radiation, as well as other disease or illness may compromise the health and fertility of the reproductive system. Fertility preservation can be a welcome option to those about to undergo medical treatments in which sterility can result. At HEARTLAND we offer the cryopreservation of sperm, eggs and embryos giving opportunity and hope for a fertile future.

Female

If you are concerned with your future ability to conceive, at HEARTLAND we offer women the opportunity to preserve embryos. Reasons you may consider fertility preservation are:

Forthcoming surgery to remove ovaries
Cancer treatments (radiation and chemotherapy)
Genetic causes (damaged or decreasing number of eggs)

Cancer

Though today's cancer treatments are increasingly successful, chemotherapy, radiation and even surgery may speed up the natural process of egg loss. This in turn can reduce or even destroy your ovarian reserve. Infertility is not an automatic result of cancer therapies and can depend on the type of treatment you undergo, your age and your fertility status prior to treatment.

Embryo Freezing

This is the most common and successful way to preserve female fertility. The process of freezing (Vitrification) eggs and embryos begins with hormone injections to stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs. The growth of your follicles will be monitored via ultrasound. Once they are mature, they will be aspirated through the vaginal wall, using a needle guided by ultrasound. Mature eggs are fertilized using sperm from your partner or donor through the process of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The number of embryos retrieved and frozen varies.

Embryo freezing is typically done about two weeks after the start of your period. If you are undergoing cancer treatment, embryo freezing should be performed before those treatments begin.

How do I use them?

When you're ready to use your frozen embryos, medications will build up the lining of your uterus, preparing it for implantation. One to three of your embryos will be thawed and placed into your uterus.

How successful is it?

Approximately 50 to 70% of thawed embryos survive the transfer process. Pregnancy rates vary depending on the quality of the embryos as well as your age at the time they were frozen. However, generally there is a 25 - 45% chance of pregnancy per embryo replacement.

Male

Cancer therapies, like chemotherapy and radiation, as well as other disease or illness may compromise the health and fertility of the reproductive system. Fertility preservation can be a welcome option to those about to undergo medical treatments in which sterility can result. At HEARTLAND we offer the cryopreservation of sperm and embryos giving opportunity and hope for a fertile future.

There are a variety issues that may cause male sterility such as:

Chemotherapy
Radiation
Vasectomy
Injury or disease of the spinal chord
Pelvis or testicular surgery
Erectile difficulty

In such cases where future fertility hangs in the balance many men decide to freeze sperm in order to sustain the possibility of fathering children.

How many samples?

Though just one sperm sample can be enough for conception, it is generally recommended that you make several donations or samples. In some instances where surgery or cancer treatment is pending, time may be the deciding factor as to how many samples can be collected.

How long?

Sperm can be frozen indefinitely allowing you to choose when you want to pursue fertility. If you die before the sperm is used, your written consent must have been given in order for your partner to use the sperm.

How can I use it?

When you're ready, the sperm is thawed and your HEARTLAND physician will assess both you and your partner to determine the treatment plan that will give you an optimal chance of conceiving. Generally, once the sperm is thawed it is put into your partner's uterus via Inrauterine Insemination (IUI). If there is not a sufficient supply of sperm or it's quality is in question, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) may be necessary.

  • IUI - requires a minimum of 5 million motile sperm per cycle
  • IVF - minimum of 1 million motile sperm per cycle
  • IVF with ICSI - one sperm per egg

How successful is it?

Success rates of frozen sperm depends on a variety of factors such as your health and any issues or illness that may effect the quality of your sperm, your partner's age and fertility and the method of assisted reproduction that is used (IUI, IVF, ICSI). Approximately 60% of sperm survive the freezing and thawing process, another reason why it is beneficial to have more than one sample.

Cancer Care Canada

For Physicians