Vitrification of oocytes and/or embryos.
The 8% of women diagnosed with cancer are under 40 years old.
One of the best pieces of news in the field of medicine in recent years is the fact that the survival rates for patients with cancer have significantly increased with new oncology therapies.
The bad news is that in many cases, this leads to a drastic decrease in their reproductive potential and, as a result, the inability to achieve pregnancy in the future, depending on the patient’s age and the type of proposed oncological treatment.
30% of women with cancer never discussed the issue of infertility with their oncologist. Of those who do discuss it, in half of the cases, it’s the patient who raises the topic during the consultation.
Most international surveys show that one of the main concerns for women undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy is their fertility after treatment.
Fortunately, a new laboratory technique for egg freezing, called “vitrification,” offers excellent chances of achieving a future pregnancy for these patients.
Proper coordination between the oncologist and the reproduction team will allow for the right strategy to preserve their future fertility.
Before starting chemotherapy, possible preservation strategies will be discussed with your oncologist, along with your expectations of success.
In the case of egg preservation, different types of ovarian stimulation regimens are used, similar to those used in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments, involving injectable medication for approximately one week.
The puncture and aspiration of ovarian follicles are performed in the operating room under sedation, in an outpatient procedure that allows the patient to quickly return to her normal life the following day.
The eggs retrieved are frozen using the vitrification technique to be used in the future when the patient has completed her oncological treatment and wishes to start looking for a pregnancy. Once this happens, the eggs that were cryopreserved before oncological treatment can be thawed and fertilized in vitro (IVF), and the embryos can be transferred to the uterine cavity.
The chances of success with this treatment depend on several factors, primarily the number of eggs that were successfully cryopreserved and the age of the patient at the time of preservation.
What is vitrification? Vitrification is a solidification process in which eggs and/or embryos are treated with cryoprotective substances and submerged in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C. This process allows for the preservation of the quality and characteristics of the cryopreserved material for future use, offering higher chances of success to the patients. It is used in patients who are undergoing fertility preservation and IVF/ICSI treatments.
In which cases is it performed?
- Patients who undergo fertility preservation by vitrifying eggs for social reasons.
- Patients who undergo fertility preservation by vitrifying eggs for oncological reasons or because they will receive toxic treatment for their ovaries.
- Patients who undergo IVF/ICSI or egg donation and generate more than one embryo, allowing for more transfers in the future.
- Patients who undergo IVF/ICSI or egg donation and decide to defer the transfer by choice.
- Patients who undergo IVF/ICSI or egg donation and need to defer the transfer due to endometrial or hormonal causes.
- Patients who choose to accumulate eggs before undergoing IVF/ICSI.
- Patients who choose to accumulate eggs or embryos for genetic testing (PGT)