Fertility Banking

On this page:

  1. What Is Fertility Banking?
  2. When Can Fertility Banking Be Used And Changes To South Australian Legislation.
  3. How Does It Work?
  4. Find Out More.

What Is Fertility Banking?

Fertility banking basically means storing your eggs or sperm in a fertility clinic under freezing conditions so that they can be thawed out and used at a later time. Techniques for freezing sperm and eggs have  improved over the years and eggs and sperm are very  tolerant of this process. This process can be used to give you some peace of mind or insurance to the extent that you know that your sperm or eggs will be available later in your life if you need them.

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When Can Fertility Banking Be Used And Changes To South Australian Legislation.

Planning to start a family later in life

The use of assisted reproductive treatment for fertility banking purposes under South Australian Legislation is currently not available for social reasons, but is an option for medical reasons. 

Amendments to the South Australian Legislation were finalised recently making fertility banking for social reasons available.

We understand that the amendments may take effect on 21 March 2017.  Please visit our site on or around that date to find out more.

For the purposes of the Legislation as it currently stands, medical reasons include conditions whereby there is a risk that if a child was conceived naturally that there would be a greater risk of genetic disorder.  The risk of genetic disorders may increase with age and this might be a common reason for banking.

Genetic disorders may be:

  1. Inherited.
  2. A product of harmful physical and chemical environmental factors.
  3. Age related.  The risk of birth defects and some genetic disorders may increase, and the risk for later onset disorders may also show an increase with advanced paternal age.  Research has shown that chromosome abnormalities are common in eggs. With advancing age, a woman’s risk of having aneuploid eggs (abnormal eggs) is greatly increased.
  4. Caused by many factors, resulting from a complex interaction of genetic, age and physical and chemical environmental influences.

Additional conditions suitable for banking   include genetic conditions such as Klinefelter’s syndrome or Turner’s syndrome where there is likely to be early failure of sperm or egg production.

If you are planning to start a family later in life but face the risk of transmitting a serious defect, disease or illness to your child then fertility banking provides you with an option.

Disease, illness or medical treatment

Fertility banking is also an option if you have, or at risk of developing, a medical condition which may, or its treatment may, significantly reduce your capacity to conceive or father a child, or in fact render you unable.  Examples include:

For men:

  1. Cancer and chemotherapy.  Fertility banking of sperm or eggs is most commonly performed prior to cancer treatment with chemotherapy.
  2. Use of certain drugs, such as those for depression or high blood pressure.
  3. Diabetes.
  4. Hormonal problems.
  5. Surgery of the reproductive tract, such as that for undescended testes, hernia repair, disorders of the prostate gland.
  6. Vasectomy or failure of vasectomy reversal.  Fertility banking may be a possibility for men prior to having a vasectomy in case they change their mind and wish to father children later on.

For women:

  1. Endometriosis.
  2. Cancer and chemotherapy.
  3. Infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a severe infection of the female reproductive organs that may be caused by sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea or chlamydia; or appendicitis, which can result in scarring of the internal pelvic organs.
  4. PCOS, thyroid disease or diabetes.

Conditions which may impact on your fertility health, can run in your family because of common genes and often similar lifestyles such as smoking, poor-diet and lack of physical exercise.  However it is important to appreciate that just because there is an incidence of a certain disease in your family’s health history, that does not mean that you will develop that condition. If you are at risk, your doctor can advise you on making changes to lifestyle factors to slow or stop the development of many diseases.  Fertility banking may be a strategy that your doctor recommends to protect your future capacity to conceive or father a child.

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How Does It Work?

Women

  1. You meet with one of our Fertility Specialists.  During this appointment, your medical history and lifestyle will be comprehensively investigated.  Birth control use, pregnancy history, frequency and regularity of menstrual cycles, medications used, surgical history, other health issues, your lifestyle, and your work/living environment may be investigated.
  2. If the Fertility Specialist determines that you have an illness or medical condition, or are undergoing treatment that may result in you or your partner becoming infertile at a future time, or damage your fertility, you will undergo the following steps (subject to your consent).
  3. Counselling, medical assessments, and screening for infectious and genetic diseases will be performed.
  4. We stimulate the development of a number of follicles in the ovaries. 
  5. Your body's response is monitored so we know when your eggs are ready for retrieval.
  6. We collect the eggs - a minimally-invasive procedure performed under anaesthesia.
  7. Your eggs are frozen using a process called “vitrification”. (Studies show that more eggs and sperm frozen this way survive thawing, because they’re cooled so quickly that there’s no time for ice crystals to form. Instead, they’re instantaneously solidified into a glass-like structure.)
  8. We store your frozen eggs until you are ready to use them. Then, if you can’t fall pregnant naturally, we help you fall pregnant with In Vitro Fertilisation (“IVF”).

The above is essentially an IVF process.  For further information, please open or download the Flinders Fertility "IVF Booklet" (pdf 2.39MB).

Men

  1. You meet with one of our Fertility Specialists to discuss your medical history and family planning goals.  During this appointment, your medical history and lifestyle will be comprehensively investigated.  Medications used, surgical history, other health issues, your lifestyle, and your work/living environment may also be investigated.
  2. If the Fertility Specialist determines that you have an illness or medical condition, or are undergoing treatment that may result in you or your partner becoming infertile at a future time, or damage your fertility, you will undergo the following steps (subject to your consent).
  3. Counselling, medical assessments, and screening for infectious and genetic diseases will be performed.
  4. You supply a sperm sample through masturbation, or we collect it through surgery.
  5. If sperm obtained are suitable for freezing then they are cryostored.
  6. We store your sperm until you are ready to use them.

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Possible Treatment Risks

Essentially, fertility banking for women is an IVF process.  For detailed information about risks, please open or download the Flinders Fertility "IVF Booklet" (pdf 2.39MB).

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Find Out More

Situations and conditions with respect to fertility banking can be complex so either:

  1. Call on 131 IVF (131 483) to talk to one of our Fertility Specialists.
  2. Email us at enquire@flindersfertility.com.au.
  3. Seek a referral to Flinders Fertility from your Doctor.

If you require the aid of an interpreter please let us know, as well as any specific regional dialect that you may require.

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