Fertility Preservation

Apart from fertility treatment, Unica develops methods of fertility preservation and allows men and women to test their current fertility.

Socioeconomic trends indicate that our society is postponing having children until much later in the parents life.

However, the biological clock continues to move forward; the quality of oocytes and sperm continuously decrease. The newest opportunities of cell and tissue cryopreservation are so gentle that they allowfor the thawing and usage for conception purposes even after a decade of storage in the cryobank.

Cryopreservation means the freezing of cells in liquid nitrogen at temperatures that can reach –196°C. Typically during the freezing process, the water contained in cells turns into ice crystals, which cause cell damage. The newest freezing technique used at Unica is called Cryotop. This technique has proven to be a very effective method of freezing and thawing cells. Statistics show that this method leaves up to 95% of the frozen cells in perfect condition when thawed.

The most recent studies indicate that the length of frozen egg and sperm preservation by no means influences their condition or quality. Even after long-term placement in the cryobank, high fertility potential is maintained. This is proven by many clinical examples in which live births were achieved after over twenty-years of preservation of reproductive cells.
Today, results show that with the use of the newest cryopreservation methods are even comparable to fresh cells.

When to think about cryopreservation?

  • When a woman or a man is expecting cancer treatment, cryopreservation should be considered. Both radiation and chemotherapy negatively influence germ cell production and surgical treatment may remove organs completely.
  • Certain socioeconomic situations result in the postponement of conception until later in life when egg and sperm quality has already deteriorated. Preserving sperm and eggs early in life is a conservative method that can potentially increase the chances of pregnancy when the decision is eventually made to give birth.
  • For both men and women, it is ideal if the decision to cryopreserve is made before turning 30 to ensure cell quality.
  • After thawing, it is possible to fertilize the eggs with the partner’s sperm and have a child. The process is similar with men’s sperm. It is possible to fertilize a fresh egg with thawed sperm.

For current fertility testing, we evaluate important factors

  • In women: age, weight (BMI), smoking, Anti-Müllerian hormone level (AMH), vitamin D level, alternatively DHEA and antral follicle count (AFC) via an ultrasound.
  • In men: complete sperm analysis, sperm quality after 24 hours, and hormonal levels.
  • Test results and probability of conception are communicated to patients and a suitable course of action recommended accordingly.
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