As ASRM Endorses Egg Freezing for Fertility Preservation Texas Fertility Center Accelerates Use of New Freezing Process, Vitrification

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Texas Fertility Center is accelerating the use of a new egg freezing process, vitrification, in their labs in Austin and San Antonio to help bring technology to Central Texans.

Dr Thomas Vaughn
Oocyte cryopreservation is particularly helpful for women planning to undergo chemotherapy for cancer who wish to save their eggs prior to receiving treatment with medications, radiation, or surgery that might destroy their ovaries.

As their 2012 conference began, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) released a statement removing the experimental label from egg freezing as an option for fertility preservation. According to ASRM, “The success of oocyte cryopreservation has improved dramatically over the past decade, and preliminary data for safety are reassuring. Therefore, this technique should no longer be considered experimental.”

Dr. Thomas Vaughn, partner at Texas Fertility Center, lauded this decision.

“The physicians at the Texas Fertility Center are pleased to hear that the Practice Committee of ASRM has decided to recognize that egg freezing is an acceptable medical procedure and should no longer be considered experimental,” he said.

In the statement released today, ASRM recommended egg freezing as an option for women who have medical conditions or need treatment that might destroy their ability to conceive, such as patients with cancer or other chronic diseases, or women suffering from premature ovarian failure.

“Oocyte cryopreservation is particularly helpful for women planning to undergo chemotherapy for cancer who wish to save their eggs prior to receiving treatment with medications, radiation, or surgery that might destroy their ovaries,” said Dr. Vaughn.

“Because of the increased need for proven egg freezing option, we are accelerating the use of a new freezing process, vitrification, in our labs in Austin and San Antonio to help bring this technology to Central Texans.” While many fertility programs claim to be able to freeze eggs, TFC has proven vitrification technology, reporting the first live birth in Central Texas from this new technology in June of 2011.

At Texas Fertility Center, Dr. Vaughn and the other physicians have recently also seen a dramatic increase in the number of women who want to electively preserve their eggs in order to preserve their fertility until they are ready to conceive.

“Although the ASRM report specifically addresses fertility preservation for medically necessary reasons, we have started to see a number of women visit our clinic to discuss preserving their eggs in the hopes of protecting their ability to get pregnant at some point in the future,” explained Dr. Vaughn.

Thirty-six year old Carlie Blakeman scheduled an appointment earlier this year for that very reason.

“Part of it is my age. I’m 36, but I feel like I am 25 and have all the time in the world,” she said. “At some point, my eggs won’t be viable.”

Blakeman, who enjoys traveling, has spent the last few months in Africa as part of GlaxoSmithKline PULSE program. “I love adventure and have focused on my job. My biological clock hasn’t started ticking yet,” she explained. “I think when I meet the right person, I will want a family.”

Several years ago, Blakeman’s friend had breast cancer and encouraged her to consider fertility preservation. At the time, embryo preservation was the only option.

“As a single woman, you don’t know who your life partner will be. I didn’t want to pick a donor,” said Blakeman.

Recent advances in technology have resulted in the ability to preserve eggs.

“In the past, freezing did not produce good results once eggs were thawed,” explained Dr. Vaughan. “With vitrification, a fast-freezing technique, we have been able to successfully preserve eggs for later use.”

When Blakeman saw an article about this new process, she immediately started investigating the possibility. She went through the process and preserved nine eggs.

“The idea of just freezing your eggs is game changing. It gives you options and choices,” she said. “In your early 20s, you don’t want to consider a sperm donor. Egg preservation opens up options for later in life.”

About Texas Fertility Center
Texas Fertility Center (TFC), one of the nation’s leading full-service infertility practices, provides advanced Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology services to patients throughout Texas, the Southwestern United States, and the Americas. Since 1980, TFC has been recognized nationally for outstanding pregnancy rates, cutting-edge laboratory procedures, and innovative research programs. For more information, please visit http://www.txfertility.com.

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