A Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr. Morenikeji Olaniyi has urged young women who have cancer to consider freezing their eggs before starting chemotherapy treatment.
Olaniyi made this call in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise. The expert who is a fertility specialist with Bridge Clinic Fertility Centre, noted that freezing eggs by young women with cancer was necessary before undergoing chemotherapy.
Egg freezing is a process in which a woman’s eggs are extracted, frozen and stored as a method to preserve reproductive potential in women of reproductive age.
She said that due to chemotherapy and radiation treatment that women with cancer will undergo, freezing their eggs enhances their chances of having children in the future.
“Cryopreservation is also for young women coming down with cancer. Ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, anal cancer or any form of cancer that may require chemotherapy.
“So, we advise them to come for ovarian cryopreservation. Even sometimes we cryopreserve the ovarian tissues in which we may later stimulate to get eggs.
“Because once you expose them to radiation and chemotherapy, such treatments may kill those cells, they may regenerate abnormally and give problems to the offspring.
“So, in those situations, we advise the women to go for cryopreservation before undergoing surgery for cancer.
“I have a young lady under the age of 22 who has cancer. Treatment was to commence and in such a case we had to bring her in so that we could get her eggs and cryopreserve them for her.
“When she is clear cancer and clean she can always come back for the eggs.”
The consultant gynecologist stated that it was advisable not to freeze eggs for more than 10 years.
Olaniyi also urged women who wish to preserve their eggs to consider doing so before they turn 35. This, she said, is to prevent the freezing of low-quality eggs that may not yield the desired result in the future. She added:
“As we grow older our fertility drops and the older women grow the poorer the quality of their eggs.
“Once a woman is 35 and it looks like she may not likely get married in the next few months or years, it is best she freezes her eggs. Because if you are freezing eggs for a woman at 40, the quality can never be the same as freezing a woman’s eggs at 30.”
The problem with freezing the eggs of a 40-year-old woman, Olaniyi said, is that after 40, the quality of the egg produced is reduced.
“You are getting like three or four eggs and you cannot even guaranty the quality. So, it is a problem.
“Meanwhile, if you stimulate a woman at 30 or 35 years you can get like 15 to 20 eggs and the quality is top-notch. And that is what gives you the results for fertilisation by the time you need them in years to come,”
the gynaecologist said.