What is cryopreservation?
Cryopreservation is the process of cooling and storing biological cells or tissues at extremely low temperatures. Because the eggs are frozen at such low temperatures, the samples have a high rate or surviving upon thawing. Cryopreservation is commonly used in conjunction with assisted reproductive technology.
Men and women who are transitioning to a new gender may wish to preserve fertility before physical transitioning actions. This can be done by egg freezing, sperm banking, and embryo freezing. This must be done prior to hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery.
Saving a nest egg: egg cryopreservation
Transgender men can choose to have their oocytes frozen. An oocyte is an unfertilized egg. These can be retrieved from the ovaries for preservation. Prior to retrieval, the transgender man will first receive hormones to stimulate the production of eggs. After 10-12 days of hormone therapy, the eggs are harvested by means of a simple surgical procedure then frozen and stored. The thawed eggs can be fertilized in the future using IVF.
Investing in the future of your family: sperm banking
Prior to transitioning, a transgender woman can freeze sperm. Typically, the sperm sample is collected at home or at the clinic by means of masturbation. If necessary, surgery can be used to retrieve the sperm. Cryopreservation allows the sperm to be stored for an indefinite length of time. When the patient wishes to start a family, the transgender woman can use the sperm to fertilize a donated egg.
Think ahead for the family: embryo freezing
Embryo freezing is often chosen by couples who wish to preserve fertility before gender transition. For this process, a sperm is used to fertilize an egg in a laboratory. The embryo is then frozen and stored using cryopreservation.
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