1. Health concerns
Not every woman or couple that undergoes in vitro fertilization (IVF) is struggling with infertility or advanced maternal age. In some cases, underlying health concerns or even treatments performed in younger years can render a person infertile. Individuals undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment, or people who need to have critical reproductive organs such as the ovaries or testicles removed can have trouble getting pregnant. Such patients are often encouraged to have eggs or sperm extracted and frozen to preserve fertility before treatment.
2. Delaying parenthood
One of the most obvious reasons for cryopreservation, especially among women, is to preserve fertility and delay parenthood. These days, many people are waiting until much later to start a family in favor of building a career and financial stability. Unfortunately, the relationship between fertility and age works in opposite directions. So, the later a woman waits to get pregnant, the harder the process can be in some cases. Meanwhile, the average age of first-time mothers is steadily increasing. Opting for oocyte cryopreservation, or egg harvesting, in younger years ensures a better chance for conception odds when the desire for children occurs.
3. Preserving a legacy
A lesser-known reason, specifically with sperm cryopreservation, is to preserve a legacy for individuals in more dangerous career paths. For example, many military employees may opt to freeze sperm, especially active-duty members that have been deployed. Similarly, sperm retrieval can also be performed after a person dies. As long as the sperm is extracted within 72 hours of death, the specimen is viable and can be frozen for use at a later date.
Taking control of fertility options
Getting pregnant is a complex conversation beyond simply being able to physically release an egg or sperm. Many factors will influence a person’s decision, including personal goals, financial realities, and life partner choices. Many people will choose to have children in younger years. However, advances in fertility and assisted reproductive therapy (ART) offer the luxury of choice. If fertility preservation is a serious consideration, speak with a fertility specialist to understand all the available options.