No one should face hereditary cancer alone.

Thinking about cancer or dealing with cancer risk can be scary or overwhelming, but we believe that receiving information and resources is comforting, empowering, and lifesaving.

Hereditary Cancer Info > Fertility & Family Planning > Fertility Preservation and Assisted Reproductive Technology

Toggle Menu

Fertility Preservation and Assisted Reproductive Technology

Learn about the effects of HBOC on fertility and family planning, how pregnancy impacts hereditary cancer risk, and options for assisted reproduction.

Egg freezing and embryo freezing

Egg freezing

In a process known as cryopreservation, a woman’s unfertilized eggs can be harvested, frozen, and placed in long-term storage. Unlike embryo freezing, egg freezing does not require sperm for fertilization. As such, this is an ideal option for single women, or those who want to reserve the option to one day have children with a different partner. 

The egg-freezing process includes these steps:

  • Patients take hormone injections for 8-12 days to stimulate the follicles in the ovaries to grow.
  • The ovarian response is monitored frequently (using bloodwork and ultrasound) so that medication dosage can be adjusted if needed. 
  • For the egg retrieval, the woman is sedated so that a fertility specialist can extract her eggs using ultrasound as a guide. It is an outpatient and minimally invasive procedure that takes less than 15 minutes. The eggs are frozen the same day. 

Embryo Freezing

The embryo-freezing process is similar to the egg-freezing process. After retrieval, eggs are fertilized with sperm to create embryos that are frozen for future implantation. When the woman wishes to become pregnant, the embryo can be thawed, and transferred into the uterus. This procedure usually does not involve sedation and takes only a few minutes.


Updated 10/02/2017

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered