Summary of fertility preservation options

No Fertility Preservation


Who it is for?

Women who want to wait and see; already completed family; need to start cancer treatment straight away; do not wish to have a pregnancy after cancer treatment; do not have fertility preservation options available to them.

Chance of having a baby

Variable. Depends on how your ovaries have been affected by your cancer treatment.

Fertility treatment side effects

No fertility treatment side effects.

Delay to start cancer treatment

No delay.

Effect on the cancer returning

No effect.

Egg Freezing


Who it is for?

Women who do not have a partner; do not want to use donor sperm; do not choose embryo freezing because of their beliefs; have time to go through a cycle of fertility treatment before starting cancer treatment.

Chance of having a baby

Variable. Women under 35 who store 10 eggs have approximately a 40% chance of having a baby. Women over 35 years old will have a lower chance.  Women under 35 may have a good chance if enough eggs are able to be stored.

Fertility treatment side effects

Headaches, mood changes, hot flushes, and irritation of the skin; levels of the hormone oestrogen go up (not safe for women who have an oestrogen sensitive breast cancer); chance of infection or bleeding; damage to other pelvic structures (not safe for women with pelvic cancer).

Delay to start cancer treatment

Two weeks.

Effect on the cancer returning

No data to suggest this will affect the chances of the cancer coming back.

Embryo Freezing


Who it is for?

Women who have time to go through a cycle of fertility treatment before starting cancer treatment; women with a male partner as both eggs and sperm are needed for fertilisation.

Chance of having a baby

Variable. The chance that embryo freezing will help a woman to have a child after cancer treatment is around 30 in 100 (around 30%). Women who are younger than 35 years of age have a higher chance. Women over 35 years old will have a lower chance.

Fertility treatment side effects

Headaches, mood changes, hot flushes, and irritation of the skin; levels of the hormone oestrogen go up (not safe for women who have an oestrogen sensitive breast cancer); chance of infection or bleeding; damage to other pelvic structures (not safe for women with pelvic cancer).

Delay to start cancer treatment

Two weeks.

Effect on the cancer returning

No data to suggest this will affect the chances of the cancer coming back.

Ovarian Tissue Freezing


Who it is for?

Women who do not have time to freeze embryos or eggs; who cannot use fertility drugs; who prefer the possibility of natural conception later; girls who have not reached puberty.

Chance of having a baby

Newer method of fertility preservation. Live birth rates of about 30 in 100 (30%) worldwide.

Fertility treatment side effects

Involves surgery, so chance of damage to bladder or bowel; chance of infection or bleeding. A chance of putting cancer cells back in the body with the frozen ovarian tissue (not safe for women with a blood cancer such as leukaemia).

Delay to start cancer treatment

Likely to be none, or only a few days.

Effect on the cancer returning

No data to suggest this will affect the chances of the cancer coming back.

Ovarian Suppression


Who it is for?

Women undergoing chemotherapy; girls who have reached puberty.

Chance of having a baby

It is unclear if this method makes it more likely that you will be able to have a baby after treatment.

Fertility treatment side effects

Hot flushes; mood changes; difficulty sleeping; vaginal dryness.

Delay to start cancer treatment

Likely to be none.

Effect on the cancer returning

No effect.