Egg Freezing for Medical Indications

When Fertility is Threatened by Cancer and Other Illnesses

An example of egg freezing for a medical indication would be a woman between the ages of 15 and 41 years who is diagnosed with a treatable malignancy that will require chemotherapy or radiation treatments to a part of the body near the ovaries. Another example would be a woman who requires surgical removal of her ovary(ies) for a benign or questionable disease process. In these cases, if time permits and the treating doctor(s) approves, the patient can undergo one (and occasionally a second) treatment cycle to store a batch of eggs. The average number of oocytes retrieved at our center in cycles completed for cancer is twenty, which we think is a good amount.

It is important to know that the timing of egg freezing treatment is, in part, determined by your internal reproductive hormones and that the treatment is generally started at the beginning of the menstrual cycle (if you have a uterus). If cancer is diagnosed and you are interested in freezing eggs, it is important to call your cancer doctor and our center as soon as possible so that the cancer and egg freezing treatments can be coordinated. The oocyte cryopreservation treatment takes about two weeks and is usually fit in between your initial diagnostic procedures and your cancer treatment. If not clinically contraindicated (meaning your cancer doctors say it is alright), the timing of treatment is made easiest and most flexible if a patient is on oral contraceptive pills at the time they are evaluated at the NYU Fertility Center. The hormones of the birth control pills broaden the window when fertility preservation such as egg freezing can be performed.

As of October 2012, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine has removed the "experimental" label from oocyte cryopreservation and now endorses the procedure for medical indications. Information about the success of our egg freezing program is available on our program information page. 

If you are interested in or need more preliminary information about egg freezing, learn more about how to get started with egg freezing. If medically necessary, you will be fit in for a priority appointment within one week of calling the office.

 


LIVESTRONGFertile Hope is a LIVESTRONG initiative dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility. Please visit their website for more information about their Sharing Hope financial assistance and SurvivorCare programs.