How will my eggs, sperm or reproductive tissue be used in treatment?
If you’ve stored eggs, they’ll need to be fertilised with sperm using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or IVF and then the resulting embryos will be transferred to a person’s uterus (this could be your partner, yourself if you’ve kept your uterus, or a surrogate).
If you’ve stored sperm, your sperm can be used in intrauterine insemination (IUI). Alternatively, your sperm can be mixed with eggs from your partner, or donor in an IVF or ICSI treatment. If you’ve had to stop hormone therapy in order to collect and store your sperm, the sperm quality may not be as good.
Storing sperm is the only established way to preserve male fertility. Researchers are currently exploring testicular tissue freezing (i.e either as individual cells or as a piece of tissue) as a fertility preservation option. The cells or tissue could later be injected or transplanted back to potentially restore natural fertility. Alternatively, in the future, researchers may be able to produce sperm from these cells in a lab. This sperm could then fertilise an egg in a lab and be used in fertility treatment. However, this research is at its very early stages and would need a change in UK legislation for it to be allowed for treatment. Currently no births have been reported, following testicular tissue freezing.
If you’ve stored ovarian tissue (i.e. a whole ovary or pieces of tissue from an ovary, containing eggs), it could later be transplanted back to potentially restore natural fertility. Currently only a few centres in the UK offer the service of storing ovarian tissue. The use of frozen ovarian tissue in fertility treatment is still relatively new.
To find clinics which store testicular or ovarian tissue, you can use our ‘Choose a fertility clinic’ search function.
If treatment is unsuccessful, you might want to consider using a donor in treatment.