Fertility preservation refers to any procedure that allows individuals to preserve their fertility for future use, and may be helpful for:
- Individuals wishing to delay parenthood for personal reasons (such as pursuing a career or finding the right partner).
- Transgender individuals wishing to preserve their fertility before, during or after medical or surgical transition.
- Cancer patients who wish to maintain their childbearing ability before, during or after cancer treatment.
- Patients pursuing medical treatments that may impact their fertility (for example, a patient with sickle cell disease who has had a bone marrow transplant may experience low sperm supply).
- Women undergoing treatment for a condition that affects their reproductive system, such as endometriosis.
The expert team at the Johns Hopkins Fertility Center offers the most advanced fertility preservation options, and will personalize your treatment based on your fertility goals.
Fertility Preservation: Why Choose Johns Hopkins
- Our experts have extensive experience in a range of fertility preservation methods, including egg freezing, fertilized egg (embryo) freezing and sperm banking — and are leading experts in emerging treatments such as ovarian tissue freezing.
- Our team is at the forefront of research into advanced treatments. We have been recognized for our research into fertility preservation for people with cancer, including the use of ovarian tissue cryopreservation for young cancer patients.
- When you receive fertility care with us, you have access to specialists across Johns Hopkins, including the Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service and The Center for Transgender Health, who all work together to develop comprehensive and integrated treatment plans that align your medical needs with your fertility goals.
- The Johns Hopkins Fertility Center is here to support you on the entirety of your journey to parenthood. When you are ready to start your family, our expert team is here to counsel you on your fertility treatment options based on your chosen fertility preservation method, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI).
Fertility Preservation Treatment: What to Expect
At your first appointment, you will meet with our team and review your medical history, fertility goals and the fertility preservation options we offer. Your doctor will then perform diagnostic tests — such as pelvic ultrasound and bloodwork — to evaluate your fertility. If expedited treatment is needed, we will strive to schedule appointments quickly.
Egg Freezing (Oocyte Cryopreservation)
Oocyte cryopreservation, more commonly known as egg freezing, is a procedure where unfertilized eggs are frozen for future use. In this treatment, patients use injectable fertility medications to stimulate egg development and then undergo a procedure to retrieve those eggs. These unfertilized eggs are then cryopreserved until you are ready to use them.
Embryo Freezing (Embryo Cryopreservation)
Embryo cryopreservation, also known as embryo freezing, has been used to help achieve pregnancy since the early 1980s. This safe and routine procedure involves the same steps as egg freezing, with the addition of fertilizing the egg (using sperm from a partner or a donor) via in vitro fertilization and storing the embryos for future use. The embryos can be safely stored for a number of years.
Sperm Freezing (Sperm Cryopreservation)
Sperm cryopreservation involves freezing and storing sperm for future use. In order to cryopreserve sperm, the patient must be able to produce a semen sample. At our center in Green Spring Station, we have a full-service andrology lab, including a small, private room for collecting semen samples and devices to store frozen samples. We recommend our patients produce multiple semen samples over several days to weeks for cryopreservation.
Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation
Ovarian tissue cryopreservation is a new option for fertility preservation and is the only option available for young patients who have not yet gone through puberty. It involves retrieving ovarian tissue through a surgical procedure and then freezing it. Once cryopreserved, the ovarian tissue pieces can be transplanted back into the patient for future pregnancy. Because this technique was considered experimental until very recently, it is often not covered by insurance.