We provide fertility preservation for patients undergoing treatment for cancer and other diseases. Aggressive treatments for these diseases often have the unfortunate side effect of sterility, making it difficult for male and female patients to conceive after treatment is complete. In addition, fertility preservation can benefit women who want to wait until they are in their late 30s or 40s to have children. We are able to cryopreserve eggs, sperm, and embryos for future use.
Oocyte cryopreservation, or egg freezing, safely preserves a patient's eggs for future use. We commonly cryopreserve eggs during in vitro fertilization (IVF), allowing patients to use the eggs during future cycles. Many patients also freeze eggs because they wish to conceive later in life, or they are preparing to undergo treatment for cancer or another disease. Cryopreserved eggs are viable for use many years in the future.
Embryos, which are fertilized eggs, can be preserved for use in the future. In many cases, patients have excess embryos that are created during IVF treatment, not all of which are transferred to the uterus during the first cycle. Cryopreservation saves these embryos for future use in subsequent cycles of IVF. Preserving embryos can be cost effective because it allows patients to avoid the additional costs of ovulation induction medications and egg harvesting.
With preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), we can evaluate embryos to ensure that they are not affected by genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities. PGD may be recommended for patients who have suffered recurrent miscarriage, are more than 35 years old, or have a family history of genetic disorders.
Ovulation induction encourages the release of an increased number of eggs from the ovaries with fertility medication. Oral medications may be recommended if a patient has irregular or infrequent ovulation, or if she is undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF. Injectable medications may be used in conjunction with oral medications for patients who are undergoing IUI and IVF.
IUI is a type of artificial insemination that increases the chances that a sperm cell will fertilize an egg by placing it in closer proximity with the egg. During treatment, a male patient or donor's sperm is collected, washed to separate the sperm from the semen, and directly transferred to a female patient. In most cases, the female patient undergoes ovulation induction prior to the IUI procedure to ensure that there are multiple eggs that can be fertilized.
IVF is a treatment in which an egg and sperm are fertilized outside of a female patient's body, then transferred to the uterus in hopes that at least one embryo will attach to the uterine wall. IVF can be performed using fresh eggs and sperm, which must first be harvested, or using frozen eggs, sperm, or embryos. Because IVF aids in seven of the ten steps of conception, it can greatly increase your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an advanced technique used during IVF. It involves the injection of a single sperm into a single egg. This treatment is performed in the laboratory, and allows our team to select the best possible eggs and sperm, increasing the chances for successful embryo creation. ICSI may be recommended when a male patient has a low sperm count, sperm has low motility, or IVF has failed to result in successful embryos in past cycles.
Male factor infertility occurs when a male patient's sperm is unable to make the journey from his testicles to the female uterus and successfully fertilize an egg. This can occur because of low sperm count, non-existent sperm (as in the case of azoospermia), sperm that is not motile enough to travel, or sperm that is blocked by a physical complication. There are several treatments for male infertility, including surgery, sperm aspiration, and IVF.
Egg donors give our patients the chance to conceive a child using a donated oocyte. Donated eggs can be used in conjunction with a male partner's sperm, or with donor sperm. Once an embryo has been created, it is placed in a female patient's uterus. Couples may elect to use donor eggs for a variety of reasons. For some, the female is unable to produce a healthy egg. For others, it is because of personal choice.
Sperm donors, like egg donors, give couples the chance to conceive a child. Patients can select a sperm donor with certain characteristics, such as hair color, race, and more. Sperm donation is a relatively easy process for a donor. After the sperm is gathered, we check its quality and determine if it is affected by genetic disease. Next, the sperm can be used to fertilize an egg in a laboratory setting, or to inseminate a female patient.
Acupuncture is one of several holistic treatments that can help patients feel more comfortable and less stressed while undergoing fertility treatments. The treatment involves long, thin needles that are strategically inserted to help relieve tension. Acupuncture and other stress-relieving treatments are inexpensive ways to help patients relax during the often emotional process of fertility treatment.
Dr. Angela Bowers works with Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health to provide psychological and emotional counseling to our patients. Dr. Bowers helps patients navigate the emotional journey that accompanies fertility treatment, and provides a space where patients can discuss their feelings. Emotional counseling can give patients peace of mind and relieve stress during the fertility treatment process.