Fertility Preservation Options

There are a number of options available for women who want to preserve fertility after treatment for a serious illness, such as cancer, endometriosis, or autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

The fertility specialists at UI Health can help you develop a plan that will meet your goals for future fertility and that is personalized to your unique needs.

The fertility preservation plan our team creates for you will be in place before treatment for your health condition begins, and will continue all the way through your recovery period.

Before Treatment Begins

Your fertility preservation team will make sure you understand all the options available to you and will make recommendations based on factors such as your condition, the treatments you're receiving, your age, and your current status with respect to a partner or sperm donor.

The most commonly used fertility preservation option is ovarian stimulation with egg retrieval, followed by in vitro fertilization and freezing of the embryo. Our experts have been using this standard technique for more than 30 years. Pregnancy rates per embryo transfer range from 10 percent to 40 percent, depending on the woman's age. We can store frozen embryos for up to 15 years.

We also offer a number of investigational (research) treatment options. All of these require approval from our Institutional Review Board.

During Treatment

Your fertility preservation plan will include techniques that are tailored to the treatments you are receiving. For example, if you are undergoing radiation therapy, ovarian radiation shielding may be used. This technique uses a lead apron to shield the pelvis and reduce the radiation exposure to the ovaries. It can only be used when you're being treated with radiation away from the pelvis, and it does not protect against the toxic effects of chemotherapy on the ovaries.

After Treatment

Once treatment is completed and you're ready for pregnancy, our team will work with you to follow through on the final phase of your fertility preservation plan. This may involve implanting eggs or an embryo that you stored before pregnancy, or using donor eggs or a donor embryo.

Make an Appointment with a Fertility Specialist

Our fertility specialists are pleased to answer any questions and discuss our Fertility Preservation Program with you during a consultation.

To schedule an appointment, please call the Reproductive Medicine Program at 312.355.2634.