For members of the military serving abroad or in a combat situation, fertility preservation is an important step in preparing for life after you return from service. A military career can pose a risk to fertility in that injury to the reproductive organs is a possibility in combat. Therefore, preserving your fertility prior to active duty provides an added layer of security should injuries occur. In fact, the U.S. military now covers egg freezing and sperm freezing for active-duty servicemen and women. Read on to learn more about pre-deployment fertility preservation options for military personnel that are currently available:
Egg Freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) is a procedure where a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are retrieved and frozen until pregnancy is desired. Egg freezing is an option prior to active duty if you do not have a partner, do not want to use donor sperm, or do not want to pursue embryo freezing. The process is considered a standard outpatient procedure and takes between two and three weeks. When you return from active duty and decide to pursue pregnancy, the eggs are fertilized outside of the body (IVF), and embryos are transferred back into the uterus.
IVF / Embryo Freezing
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a procedure in which a physician will use hormones to stimulate the development of several eggs that can be removed from the ovaries that are then fertilized by the sperm of a partner or donor inside the embryology laboratory. The embryos are then frozen until pregnancy is desired, after you have returned from active duty. When a couple decides to start their family, the embryos are placed back into the woman’s uterus. IVF, which has become mainstream and widely accepted in recent years, is the most successful fertility preservation treatment available using your own eggs and sperm (or donor sperm).
Sperm cryopreservation, also known as sperm banking, gives servicemen the option to freeze and store their sperm prior to active duty. Compared to the more invasive female procedures, this procedure is pretty quick and “uninvolved.” Sperm cryopreservation allows the frozen sperm to be used in future fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Interested in learning more about preserving your fertility? Contact The Fertility Preservation in Pittsburgh today.