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Fertility preservation

Preserving your fertility involves freezing your eggs, sperm, embryos or reproductive tissue so that you can hopefully have a biological family in the future. This page will explain why you might want to preserve your fertility and what the process involves.

Why preserve your fertility?

If you're having cancer treatment

If you're having certain types of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy or radiotherapy, you might want to consider freezing your eggs, sperm or embryos. This is because some of the drugs used in cancer treatment can cause infertility, especially in high doses.

Find out more about fertility and chemotherapy via Cancer Research UK

Cancer specialists have developed information to help patients understand the impact of blood cancer treatment on fertility. Find out more

If you're in the Armed Forces

If you're in the British Armed Forces you might choose to freeze your sperm, eggs or embryos before deployment to preserve your fertility in case of injury. This option can give you peace of mind that whatever happens you may be able to have a family in the future. Some clinics offer discounted treatment for members of the Armed Forces.

Find out more about choosing a fertility clinic


If you're not ready for a family

Not everyone feels ready for parenthood at the same time. You might want to preserve your fertility because you haven't met the right partner, you don't feel financially or emotionally ready, or you have other life plans you want to pursue.

Egg freezing

Egg freezing is a method of preserving a person’s fertility so they can try and have children at a later date. Egg freezing is a rapidly changing field. For the latest statistics on egg freezing, visit our research and data page.

Find our more about egg freezing
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Ovarian tissue freezing

Ovarian tissue freezing is a fertility preservation option for patients who are unable to freeze their eggs and for younger people who haven't started ovulating.

Sperm freezing

Sperm freezing is the most effective method of preserving fertility and can be stored from patients as young as 13 if needed.

Find out more about Sperm freezing

Testicular tissue freezing

Testicular tissue freezing is a specialist technique to preserve the fertility in people who do not produce viable sperm in their ejaculate (azoospermia) as well as younger people who are unable to produce an ejaculate.

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Embryo freezing

Couples with good quality embryos they're not ready to use have the option of freezing them to use in the future or to donate.

Find out more about Embryo freezing
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Looking after yourself

Preserving your fertility is a serious decision with much to consider. It's for this reason that clinics must give you an opportunity to receive counselling before you have treatment.

Find out more about Looking after yourself
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Giving consent

It's extremely important that you understand how to legally give your consent to treatment so your eggs, sperm, embryos or reproductive tissue are used in a way that you're happy with. It is also important that you are aware of how long you can keep your eggs, sperm, embryos or reproductive material in storage for.

Find out more about Giving consent
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Choosing a clinic

Ready to choose a fertility clinic? Get all the information you need to choose the best clinic for you, prepare for your appointment and deal with any problems.

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What happens in the event of your death?

You can choose whether you want your eggs, sperm, embryos or reproductive tissue to be used after your death or whether you want them to be destroyed. In these cases, you would need to specify who would be able to use them.

Consent to treatment and storage

Treatment on the NHS

Whether a treatment is available on the NHS depends on where you live. Generally, people who need treatment for medical reasons (such as cancer or early menopause) can have this on the NHS whereas those who are having it because they’re not ready to start a family cannot. We would recommend speaking to your GP about what is available. 

Costs and funding

Publication date: 15 December 2023

Review date: 15 December 2025