In consideration of patients with cancer and other medical conditions that may cause ovarian damage, we have made the decision to drop the fee for fertility preservation by approximately 50% for both egg and embryo freezing.
Most cancers are now associated with long-term survival and many women want to start a family after their cancer is treated. However, cancer treatment (surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy) may reduce fertility potential either temporarily or permanently. In most patients, a short window of opportunity exists between diagnosis and treatment. Time permitting, we can freeze your eggs for future use.
Perfecting the Science
In the past there was little success with egg freezing due to the relatively high water content of eggs and the formation of ice crystals that destroyed the DNA of the egg. Newer freezing methods are now available as part of this research study that will allow better protection of the egg against DNA damage from freezing, and are associated with excellent survival rates.
You will meet with one of our physicians for an extensive consultation to review your records and discuss the procedure. You will have a physical examination, a pelvic ultrasound and several blood tests and sign a consent form.
Written clearance from your oncologist is required. Our program oncologist will also review your records (including biopsy, diagnosis, staging and treatment plans) and determine your eligibility.
Injections of fertility drugs for about 10 days. During that period you will be monitored by several blood tests and vaginal ultrasounds.
You will receive a trigger shot (HCG) to help your eggs reach final maturation.
34-36 hours following the trigger shot, your eggs will be retrieved vaginally using ultrasound guidance. The procedure is short, typically less than half an hour, and is done under general, intravenous anesthesia. You will stay in the recovery room for up to one hour and be discharged home.
Your eggs will be frozen the day of the procedure and will remain frozen until you decide to conceive.
Fertility Preservation Frequently Asked Questions
How can I protect my children if I have cancer genes?
If you have a cancer gene (such as BRCA), your children are at an increased risk to develop the same or related cancer. Fortunately, we can help to significantly decrease that risk using Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Through PGD we can detect the cancer gene in your embryos and implant only healthy embryos.
How long after my cancer treatment must I wait before implantation?
This will be determined by your oncologist and will depend on the staging of your cancer and your response to treatment.
Will the fertility drugs affect my cancer?
The treatment is short and so far no negative impact has been observed. Since this is a relatively new area, we continue to update our protocols as new information becomes available.
Once I am ready to get pregnant, how long will the egg thawing procedure take, and what does it involve?
Preparing your uterus to accept the pregnancy takes several weeks. Once you are ready to receive the pregnancy, we will thaw out the eggs and fertilize them with your partner’s sperm. Embryos resulting from this procedure will be watched in the lab for 3-5 days. You will then have an embryo transfer, which takes a few minutes. Excess embryos will be frozen for your future use.
How long can my eggs remain frozen?
Your eggs are frozen in time. Therefore, we assume they will have the same viability several years after they were frozen, as they’d have had with an immediate thaw.
- We have learned from egg donation that the uterus is capable of carrying a pregnancy long after the ovary runs out of eggs. However, our program has set the age of 50 as the maximum age to get an embryo transfer from a frozen-thawed egg.
What is the cost of the procedure?
Costs vary significantly and may depend on insurance coverage. For more information please call the office to speak with one of our financial counselors at 212-324-BABY (2229).
What are my options if I have unused eggs?
We recommend that you don’t rush into making a hasty decision regarding your frozen eggs.
Once you are a hundred percent sure that you no longer have any use for the eggs, you may sign a form that allows the lab to discard them. Alternatively, there may be egg donation options available at that time that we can discuss with you.