Fertility preservation

In human beings the fertility window closes rather early in life. Besides, a premature end of the fertility potential may occur as a consequence of diseases, surgical interventions, or still unknown factors. The possibility to freeze and store female gametes in their mature form, i.e. eggs, is relatively recent and still considered experimental, but it offers an option for women destined to an early loss of their reproductive function.

Nowadays women are deeply involved in their professional life. They can be obliged or can choose to delay maternity. In some case, having a child is a “luxury” that a woman can afford only after a successful career. Reproductive capacity, however, has the apex when a woman is in her twenties, then it starts to decline. Women often experience a sort of “biological punishment”: when it is the right moment to have a child for the society, it is to late for the body. We don’t know whether having a baby can be considered a fundamental right, however we know that procreation is a fundamental aspect of life.

Freezing gametes – oocytes or spermatozoa – represent a concrete possibility to slow the biological clock and to protect your reproductive potential from some kind of risks. For instance, those associated to some therapies, surgery or pathologies.

Three good reasons for freezing oocytes
There are at least three good reasons for a woman to freeze her oocytes: because she has to undergo radio or chemotherapy that will lessen her fertility; because she knows she is facing a premature ovarian failure (premature menopause) and wants to preserve her reproductive potential; because she wants to postpone her maternity, preserving the best success rate.

Beyond cancer
“Over 150 women that undergo chemotherapy to treat a breast cancer, only 1 out of 3 has been informed about the risk to become sterile”. The statement was pronounced more than 15 years ago from Christine Duffy of Brown University Medical School (Providence, Usa). Since then, cancer mortality is decreased (in Italy, in the last 10 years breast cancer mortality is decreased of 20%), and the techniques’ efficacy to preserve fertility has developed. Thus, a woman with cancer shouldn’t give up the idea to become mother, once she has been cured.

A woman that has to undergo radio or chemotherapy has 2 possibilities: either to freeze her oocytes – the most experimented technique - or her ovaric tissue. This last option is more recent: only 13 babies were born (no one in Italy), only one from a woman that had cancer.

Our results
Since 1997 at least 200 babies were born in Italy from crio-preserved oocytes. Due to the Italian law 40/2004, which forbid to freeze embryos, there has been an increased number of patients willing to preserve oocytes. To answer this need we have constantly ameliorated our results.

Tecnobios Procreazione works in this field since 1996 and its experience is well established in Italy and abroad.

From January 2005 to December 2006, we have obtained 115 pregnancies from defrost oocytes; with a success rate of 16,5% per embryo transfer.
Success rate is deeply related to patient age: women under 35 have a success rate of 20,6% per transfer, for women over 40 the rate is 6,1%.

The technique
Regardless the quality of the semen, the crio-preserved oocytes must be inseminated with the ICSI technique. In fact, due to the tightening of the oocyte external membrane, this is the only way to guarantee the spermatozoa penetration.
Oocytes freezing is still an experimental technique. Thus, it is very difficult to estimate the risks of chromosomal anomalies, malformations, neonatal pathologies. We must presume that the incidence of these kinds of events is similar to the one reported after ART with fresh oocytes. In our experience, we report only 1 baby born with malformation and 1 baby born with a genetic anomaly.

Our network

Sterility Outpatient Clinics

Bookmark and Share