Cryopreservation (Fertility Preservation)

Today’s modern lifestyle, combined with increased professional responsibilities, has led many women to delay conceiving a child. More and more people are becoming aware of this fact and it is indicative for example that Google and Apple have offered to their female employees free oocyte cryopreservation.

Women are most fertile between the ages of 20-30, while their fertility reduces gradually, especially after 35. This decline is mainly due to the reduction in the number and quality of available oocytes in the ovaries and the increase of chromosomal anomalies, thus reducing the chances of conception and live birth. According to Eurostat 2014, only 1/3 (31.859) of the babies born in Greece were from a mother under 30 years of age. The most common age of having a child was 30-34 years (34.800 babies), while 25.490 babies were born from mothers who were over 35 years old. Furthermore, 600 children were born from women over 45.

We now have the ability to “freeze time”

Oocyte cryopreservation is a fertility preservation method for women who wish to postpone having a child, women with premature ovarian insufficiency, those about to undergo chemotherapy, in cases where spermatozoa are absent in the semen sample or when testicular biopsy in the male partner is required on the day of the egg collection.

Cryopreserved oocytes maintain the age of the woman on the day they were frozen. That is why it is important that egg cryopreservation occurs at a young age, ideally between 28 and 35 years old, although older women can also have their oocytes cryopreserved.

The whole procedure lasts 8-10 days and includes ultrasound scans and blood tests every 2-3 days. After oocyte retrieval, which lasts approximately 15-30 minutes and is performed under light sedation, women can go back to their routine, even on the same day.

Many women wonder if this is a safe method and if the drugs administered can cause malignancies and, specifically, breast cancer. According to large epidemiological studies, including hundreds of thousands of women, there was no difference in the occurrence of breast cancer between women who took and those who didn't receive drugs during IVF programs. Regardless, in line with modern reproductive endocrinology, hormones should be administered in the lowest dosage and the shortest duration possible.

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