Dr Pankaj Talwar, Head-Medical Services, Birla Fertility and IVF talks about fertility preservation and latest innovations
What is fertility preservation?
The problem of infertility is growing at a significant rate all over the world and affects both the genders in different age groups. It refers to the failure of the male or female reproductive system to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. There are many studies that have shown that infertility is increasing in India at a drastic rate and has gradually increased the demand of fertility preservation that can change the lives of hopeful parents. Fertility preservation refers to the process of storing or protecting sperm, eggs, or reproductive tissue for future to have biological children. This process has changed the lives of many people including the ones suffering from long term ailments. Not only that, with the help of online reservations, one can easily avail for this option.
Who can benefit from this treatment?
While the problem in conceiving is very common in majority of the population, people with certain diseases or disorders can benefit from fertility preservation. Apart from that, certain accidents that can affect fertility problems can also be resolved by this method. This treatment has worked wonders for cancer patients who hope to conceive in near future. The people who can benefit from this treatment are as follows:
- Exposure to chemicals– If a person is exposed to certain toxic chemical that affects fertility, at any workplace or military duty, they can benefit from this treatment.
- Endometriosis– It refers to a condition where tissues similar to the lining of the uterus starts forming at other parts of the body causing pain and infertility.
- Uterine fibroids– These are tumors made of smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts, and other material which grows in or outside the wall of the uterus causing pain and abnormal bleeding.
- Cancer patients– Certain cancer treatments can affect fertility of the person and its effect might be temporary or permanent.
- Autoimmune disease– If a person is about to be treated for an autoimmune disease, such as lupus, they can opt for fertility preservation.
- Genetic– In some cases, the problem of infertility is genetic, or it can be triggered by some other genetic disease that affects future fertility.
- Delayed conception– If a couple who wants to delay conception due to some reasons, they can save their sperm or eggs for future by the help of various fertility preservation methods.
- Prolonged separation- In certain cases, couples have to separate with each other for a long time due to travelling or military duties.
What are the options available for fertility preservation?
There are various options available for fertility preservation in both male and female. These include:
- Sperm cryopreservation– It refers to the fertility preservation treatment in males where a sample of semen is taken, frozen and stored for future use in a process called cryopreservation.
- Gonadal shielding– It is another option available for male who suffer from cancer and have undergone treatment. This treatment involves protecting the testicles from radiation with a lead shield.
- Embryo freezing– In this treatment, embryos are obtained through an advanced fertility treatment called in vitro fertilization (IVF). The ovaries are stimulated with injections to produce mature eggs and combine it with the sperm with the help of egg retrieval procedure. These fertilized eggs are frozen for later use.
- Egg freezing– Similar to the process of embryo freezing, eggs are frozen to be fertilized in the future.
- Ovarian tissue freezing– It is an option in which the ovarian tissue is surgically removed and can be used in future. This option is effective for young cancer patients who will undergo treatment.
Latest innovations in the sector
Some of the latest innovations in the field of fertility preservation include:
- Ovarian transposition– This technique is a great surgical option for fertility preservation in women of reproductive age before they undergo gonadotoxic pelvic or craniospinal radiation. It is performed using combination of different surgical techniques including laparotomy and Laparoscopy. Later on, IVF can be performed for this patient.
- Embryo cryopreservation– It is a cancer-specific fertility preservation method in which the cancer treatment can be delayed for two to six weeks.
- In-vitro maturation– This new technology is a combination of oocyte or ovarian tissue cryopreservation with the process of maturation done in vitro for fertility preservation.