Fertility Preservation Program

Women & Infants’ Fertility Center is dedicated to helping patients retain their fertility, so we have created the Fertility Preservation Program. Treatments for cancer and other serious illness can often cause infertility, but preserving one’s fertility before such treatments is an option many women and men should consider.

In addition to medical reasons, women may choose to preserve their future fertility for social reasons. Men can, too, but their fertility does not decline with age as drastically as women’s fertility.

Our state-of-the-art laboratory affords patients the opportunity to save their eggs, sperm or embryos for future use, utilizing the latest egg vitrification (fast freezing) method and storage technologies.

Our highly specialized group of doctors, nurses and embryologists ensures that you have the information and support you need to make the best decision regarding fertility preservation.

About fertility preservation

The most common medical interventions that can threaten fertility are chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation are used to target and kill cancer cells. Women undergoing either of these treatments may experience diminished egg quality, and the ability of the ovaries to release eggs may be destroyed.

A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever produce, ranging between 1-2 million eggs. In order to ovulate and be fertilized, these eggs must mature. Reducing the number of eggs may make it harder for a woman to get pregnant and can cause early menopause.

Our doctors can discuss the best options for each patient’s situation. We work closely with the providers in Women & Infants’ Program in Women’s Oncology and Breast Health Center, as well as oncology physicians across the region. Patients will also have the opportunity to speak with a psychologist and/or social worker to help them make that decision. Women & Infants’ Fertility Center specialists will carefully review a patient’s history and upcoming treatments in order to evaluate the chances that they may cause infertility or early menopause. 

Fertility preservation services

Embryo freezing is the most common technique to preserve fertility. During this process, patients undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), which includes the process of first extracting a woman’s eggs. The eggs are then mixed in the laboratory with either a partner’s sperm or donor sperm.

Sometimes intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be used to place sperm in the mature egg to facilitate fertilization. The fertilized embryos that result from this process can be frozen and preserved using cryopreservation technology.

The embryos are frozen through vitrification, in which they are placed into a solution and then rapidly frozen using liquid nitrogen.

Egg freezing and egg banking refers to freezing and storing eggs to preserve future fertility. The egg retrieval process is the same as in IVF treatment, with patients undergoing a hormone-injection process to stimulate the ovaries to produce and ripen multiple eggs. The eggs are then immediately frozen, typically using a vitrification method, and stored until the patient is ready to attempt a pregnancy.

Sperm freezing refers to freezing and storing sperm for future use in artificial insemination or IVF. The male’s sperm can be used to impregnate his partner or can be donated to another recipient. The sperm is then frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen until it is needed.

Oncofertility refers to the various options that help women preserve their fertility before, during and after cancer treatments. Our Fertility Preservation Program is dedicated to helping women whose cancer treatment may jeopardize their future fertility.

We are a member of the Oncofertility Network and are experts in the surgical and laboratory techniques that can preserve fertility. Our goal is to begin treatment quickly and achieve success with plans designed for each patient.

The Fertility Preservation Program is located in the offices of Women & Infant’s Fertility Center at 90 Plain St. in Providence, RI. For more information about any of our procedures or to schedule an appointment with one of our fertility specialists, please call (401) 441-5336.