Fertility Preservation

Fertility preservation allows individuals the option to retrieve, freeze and store their own eggs or sperm* until they are ready to start a family. For women, a fertility preservation cycle is similar to an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle apart from embryo development and transfer. At the appropriate time, patients can return to undergo the remainder of an IVF cycle and an embryo transfer with the intended goal of pregnancy.

Reasons to Consider Fertility Preservation

  • Desire delaying pregnancy for personal, educational, career, or other goals
  • Wish to delay having additional children
  • Have medically or surgically indicated reasons that will lead to infertility or decreased supply of eggs
  • Need to undergo radiation or chemotherapy for cancer treatment

Recommended Criteria for Egg (Oocyte) Fertility Preservation

  • Women age 37 or younger, which is when women tend to have the highest ovarian reserve and number of mature eggs.
    • Women age 37 and older may still proceed with fertility preservation, but may require multiple cycles of treatment to achieve an adequate number of eggs.
    • Women age 40 and older are less likely to achieve an adequate number of eggs, even with multiple cycles of treatment.
  • Women with complex medical problems may still proceed, but may require additional clearance or treatment before/during the egg freezing process.
  • Given the elective nature of this process, we do not advise egg freezing for those with a body mass index (BMI) over 45 kg/m2 due to increased anesthesia risks during the egg retrieval process.

Source: Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Department, The Permanente Medical Group

Recommended Number of Eggs to Freeze

The chart below offers guidance on the number of mature eggs needed to have at least one live birth. It is important to recognize that various factors play a role in future fertility. Obtaining the recommended number of eggs may require more than one fertility preservation cycle and does not guarantee future pregnancy.

Chance of a live birth given age and number of mature eggs retrieved

Age # of eggs retrieved
10 20 30
≤35 70% 90% 97%
37 50% 75% 87%
39 40% 63% 77%
≥40 ≤ 30% ≤ 50% ≤ 66%

Source: Hum Reprod. 2017 Apr 1;32(4):853-859.

Learn More

Visit our Fertility Preservation FAQ for answers to common questions.

*Not all Kaiser Permanente IVF locations freeze sperm. Some refer patients to local cryobanks. Please speak to your provider about your options for sperm preservation.