Fertility Preservation Options: Male & Female

August 21, 2018


Erin Rowell, MD

The Fertility and Hormone Preservation and Restoration Program provides future fertility options for males, as well as females. “In fact, we are the only program in Illinois to offer Testicular Tissue Cryopreservation,” said Erin Rowell, MD, Director of the program.

In this procedure, a surgeon excises a portion of the testicle tissue, which is frozen for the patient’s future use. The rest of the testicle stays intact. This procedure is for pre-pubertal males who are not yet producing mature sperm.  The technique is considered experimental, and the research is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh.

Other post-pubertal male fertility preservation options include Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) and Sperm Cryopreservation. With TESE, the surgeon excises testicular tissue and extracts sperm cells from the tissue, freezing it for future use. In Sperm Cryopreservation, the obtained sperm is also frozen for future use.

For females, in addition to Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation (OTC), another procedure that is available to post-pubertal teens, is Oocyte (Egg) Cryopreservation. The patient is given hormones to stimulate her ovary to recruit and mature many eggs. Those eggs are then harvested and frozen for use if and when the young woman is ready to start a family.

“We carefully look at each child’s unique situation and discuss tailored options, based on the age of the patient and the treatment they will be receiving,” said Dr. Rowell. “Clinical regimens that treat serious conditions no longer have to mean the young person forfeits his or her ability to have children when they are older. The bottom line is, the patient now has options. “