The preservation of fertility has meant a great step forward for reproductive medicine. In this way, patients diagnosed with cancer who must undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment that could damage their fertility, or those women who still feel the tick of their biological clock away and do not want to give up being mothers in the future with their gametes can rely on “vitrification”.

Recently, the prestigious journal Human Reproduction published a study led by Dr. Ana Cobo, Director of the IVI Unit of Criobiology, entitled “Elective and onco-fertility preservation: factors related to IVF outcomes”, in which the doctors also took part José Remohí, Antonio Pellicer and Juan Antonio García-Velasco.

vitrification fertility

In the study we find the answers to the main concerns of women compared to the preservation of fertility and are offered interesting statistics about the percentage of pregnancy that can get a patient who intends to vitrify their eggs, depending on the age and the number of oocytes that vitrifies.

“A very surprising fact is that while women under the age of 35 who have preserved their fertility for various reasons have achieved a success rate of 94% obtaining 24 oocytes to be vitrified, those that exceeded 35 years, with a similar amounts of oocytes have just had a 50% chance of getting pregnant. Hence the importance of preserving fertility before the age of 35, a topic that has always been in the foreground in IVI, aware of the effect of age on oocyte quality”, explains Dr Ana Cobo.

fertility preservationIn the group of patients who have vitrified for oncological reasons, the same tendency is not observed, largely due to the lower amount of the sample of patients who went back to the Valencian Infertility Institute to use their vitrified eggs. The main marker of the oocyte quality is the patient’s age, and therefore this study presents a clear orientation guide regarding the possibilities of having a child according to these two measurable parameters and helps to outline a statistical reality of great interest in the field of prevention of infertility.

The study represents a sample of social reality, which shows that the largest group of patients who decide to preserve their fertility for social reasons continues to be more than 35 years old. In fact, the latter group brings together over 70% of women who have retained their fertility for social reasons in IVI and 15% exceeded 40 years. A trend that is reversed in the case of onco-therapy cycles, where 70% of women were under 35 years old.

“This is an integrated retrospective study in which a 83.5% is made up of women who spontaneously decided to preserve their fertility and a 16.5% who did it for oncological reasons (especially for breast cancer) . About 700 of these patients came back to us to try to become mothers, leading to the birth of 162 children, the result of social preservation and 25 children who came into the world after their mothers overcame a tumor,” adds Dr. Ana Cobo.

fertility freezing

IVI has been a pioneer in Spain in the field of oocyte vitrification and, so far, it can rely on the largest number of patients and results. All this has allowed the sample of the study, made up of 6,332 women, to be the largest published to date regarding the technique of conservation of gametes.

In addition, the work highlights a clear evolution of the technique used for social reasons, which in just over 10 years has increased by 18%, from 2% to 22% of the total treatments carried out in IVI in 2007 – 2017.

“Even if the percentages of return continue to be low, with about 15% in social conservation and about 10% in oncology, the certain thing is that in recent years this technique has experienced an exponential growth and we expect it to follow the same trend in the coming years. This implies a detailed study and a deepening of its implications, not only medical but also social,” concludes Dr. Daniela Galliano, Director of the IVI Center in Rome.