There are certain medical conditions and treatments for medical conditions that can diminish a woman's fertility. These treatments can range from surgery to remove a woman's ovaries to drug therapy that has a toxic effect on egg quality.
As egg freezing techniques hvae improved, physicians are talking more about fertility preservation prior to cancer treatment. Treatments such as hemotherapy, while life-saving, attack follicles in the ovaries that contain a woman’s lifetime supply of eggs. Surgery, radiation and system drugs may also damage or destroy a woman’s eggs.
Women who should seriously consider egg freezing for medical reasons include:
- Young women diagnosied with cancer who wish to store their eggs before surgery on their reproductive organs or before beginning potentially toxic chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Women who have a family history of premature menopause
- Women who have been advised to have surgery to remove their ovaries due to severe endometriosis or other diseases that can damage or destroy ovarian function
- Women who have been diagnosed with a medical condition such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis who may be taking medications that can damage or destroy ovarian function
Another reason to consider freezing eggs is if you are a couple undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and do not want to freeze embryos due to religious or ethical reasons.
With IVF, there are typically many eggs retrieved and fertilized, and the embryos are frozen for later attempts. However, many couples struggle with the decision about what to do with unused frozen embryos after their family is complete. A solution to this is to freeze the unused eggs that are retrieved instead of freezing embryos The eggs are preserved to be fertilized and transferred at a later date, and couples are less likely to have feelings of guilt or remorse about what to do with any unused eggs.