GENERAL: 416-586-4748 | PATIENT LIAISON: 416-586-4800 x 3810

Fertility Preservation

Some patients, who have not yet had the chance to start or complete their family, require treatment or medication that can cause impairment or loss of fertility. For example, a person who will be undergoing cancer treatment, a transgender person who will be starting hormone treatment, or a person who is having their ovaries surgically removed. As a result, many patients want to consider the option of preserving their fertility through gamete (egg or sperm) or embryo freezing before starting treatment.

To preserve the full range of options, fertility issues should be discussed as early as possible when planning any sort of potentially fertility-compromising treatment.  If you are already receiving or have received fertility-compromising treatment, it may still be possible to pursue fertility preservation but each situation needs to be assessed individually. Please have your care provider send us a referral so we can discuss these options with you.

At Mount Sinai Fertility, when required, we expedite referrals for sperm banking and for those wanting to receive a medical consultation to discuss their medical and cancer-associated fertility risks.

Options for people who produce sperm


Referral Form

Download the Oncology Sperm Banking referral form to give to your family physician (195 KB pdf)

Tissue & Sperm Bank

Sperm banking is the process of freezing and storing sperm for later use with Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).  The first baby born using frozen sperm and artificial insemination was in 1953.

Why Bank Sperm or testicular tissue?

There are many reasons to bank sperm or testicular tissue.  One of the most important reasons is to preserve reproductive capacity in people who will be undergoing treatment that will impair fertility.  Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and cancer drugs may diminish sperm quality and quantity, or permanently prevent sperm formation or ejaculation.

Process

It is recommended that before sperm banking, you do not ejaculate or have intercourse for 2 – 3 days prior to collecting the sperm specimen, unless otherwise instructed by your physician. The sample must be collected by masturbation in a sterile container.  No gels, cream, saliva or lubricants can be used during the sperm collection, as they may harm sperm motility (the ability of the sperm to move properly). A private collection room is provided in our clinic. When the lab receives your sample, the sperm cells are mixed with a substance called a cryoprotectant that reduces cellular injury, and the sample is then frozen.  Once frozen at an extremely low temperature, the sperm are stored in liquid nitrogen at -196° C. Sperm frozen in this manner can be stored indefinitely.

Future Use

When you have decided that it is time to start your family using your banked sperm, the frozen sperm cells will be thawed and used, through treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF).  Despite sophisticated technology, sperm banking is not perfect.  On average, approximately 90% of the viable sperm survive the freezing and thawing process. Therefore, the success rates of pregnancy cannot be guaranteed.  However, techniques such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), may allow fertilization to occur even with compromised sperm samples.  Successful pregnancy has been achieved with sperm stored for more than 10 years.

Options for people who have ovaries


Referral Form

Download the Mount Sinai Fertility Referral Form to give to your family physician (37 KB pdf )

Ovarian Stimulation with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Cryopreservation (Freezing)

Options for preserving fertility diminish rapidly with many treatment protocols. Thus, decisions about fertility preservation must be made relatively quickly following diagnosis of an illness.


Ovarian stimulation with or without in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a time-sensitive procedure. Fertility treatment requires at least 2 weeks and involves medication to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple follicles. Follicles are sacs of fluid that contain an egg. Stimulation medication is usually taken for 10-12 days, and is then followed by the egg retrieval (harvesting) procedure.


For people with breast cancer, adding a medication called letrozole to the stimulation medication may help block estrogen from being able to stimulate breast cancer cells. So far, studies do not show that ovarian stimulation treatment or pregnancy after breast cancer causes cancer recurrence.


Once eggs are retrieved, the mature eggs are frozen and can be stored indefinitely.

Why Cryopreserve?

There are many reasons to cryopreserve embryos or oocytes.  Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and cancer drugs may diminish ovarian function or cause reproductive aging and, in some cases, permanent infertility.  One of the most important reasons to cryopreserve is to preserve reproductive capacity in people who may be at risk of infertility due to certain treatments.


Future Use

When you have decided that it is time to start your family using your frozen oocytes, one of our physicians will meet with you to discuss your options and determine a plan. Although subsequent fertility cannot be guaranteed, many people who have undergone fertility-compromising treatments are able to achieve a successful pregnancy through the use of assisted reproductive technologies (ART).


RECEPTION
416-586-4748

PATIENT LIAISON
416-586-4800 x 3810

REFERRAL COORDINATOR
416-586-4800 x 2778

DOWNTOWN TORONTO
250 Dundas Street West, 7th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2Z5

HOURS
Monday to Friday, 7 am to 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 7 am to 3 pm

The clinic is located two blocks south of the main Mount Sinai Hospital building, which is at 600 University Avenue.

VAUGHAN
Sherman Health and Wellness Centre
Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus
9600 Bathurst Street, Suite 300
Vaughan, Ontario L6A 3Z8

HOURS
Monday to Friday, 7 am to 3 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 7am to 3pm

NORTH YORK
2 Sheppard Ave East
4th Floor, Suite 430
North York, Ontario, M2N 5Y7

HOURS
Monday to Friday, 7 am to 3 pm