Emerging trends: Reshaping future fertility through egg and sperm freezing

Previously considered an experimental procedure, egg freezing has evolved into a widely recognized method for preserving fertility, particularly for women who are not yet prepared to start a family due to personal or professional reasons. Despite this, the adoption of egg freezing remains sluggish in societies like India, where social norms heavily influence family decisions.

In such cultures, egg freezing is often perceived as a pessimistic view of future marriage prospects or a fear of infertility, which can lead to hesitancy and anxiety due to potential family pressure and social judgment.

Furthermore, factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, stress, efforts to reduce stress, and declining fertility rates worldwide have prompted more individuals to consider fertility preservation options. Despite increasing awareness of these options, there still exists a significant knowledge gap regarding the importance of timing. Many individuals, especially women, postpone considering fertility preservation until their late thirties or early forties when their fertility begins to decline rapidly. However, early intervention is crucial, as delays significantly reduce the success rates of assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF).

For example, the success rates of IVF using frozen eggs decrease with age due to the natural decline in egg quality. While a woman in her twenties may have a high chance of success, it becomes increasingly challenging for women who opt for egg freezing later in life—typically after the age of 35—to conceive using their frozen eggs.

It’s essential to recognize that fertility preservation serves as an insurance policy against potential reproductive difficulties rather than a guarantee of future parenthood. When medical treatments or procedures carry the risk of impairing fertility, freezing eggs or sperm should be considered a proactive measure to safeguard reproductive options.

Furthermore, discussions about fertility preservation need to extend, particularly concerning cancer treatment. Many individuals undergoing cancer therapy are unaware that they can preserve their gametes before treatment, potentially leading to irreversible fertility loss.

By raising awareness and fostering active communication between patients and healthcare professionals, patients undergoing cancer treatment can retain their fertility and have children.

In conclusion, the field of fertility preservation offers hope and options to individuals navigating challenging reproductive journeys. By dispelling myths, promoting early intervention, and enhancing access to fertility preservation services, we empower individuals to take control of their reproductive futures.

Ultimately, fertility preservation is about preserving hope, autonomy, and the opportunity to build a family on one’s own terms, rather than merely saving eggs or sperm.


(Author: Dr. Rajeev Agarwal, IVF Specialist & Director at Renew Healthcare)