Fertility Options for Cancer Patients

Posted December 26, 2014 by admin

When a young woman is diagnosed with cancer, one of the most viable and proven treatment methods is chemotherapy. Unfortunately, chemotherapy (and many other cancer treatment options) can result in a loss of fertility. As a result, women who battle cancer may have a hard time starting a family down the road.

Fortunately, recent studies have shown that there are fertility options for cancer patients that can nearly double a woman's chances of being able to conceive successfully following cancer treatment.

Option 1: Freezing Eggs

For those who have recently been diagnosed with cancer but have not yet begun treatment, one viable option to consider is that of having one's eggs extracted and frozen. First, it will be necessary to meet with an education consultant, as this will help patients to determine which fertility option would be best for them.

With this option, a woman's eggs are stimulated and then extracted by a surgeon; from there, the eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen until they're ready to be used. The entire process of stimulation, extraction, and freezing typically takes just a few weeks.

A further women's health option to consider during the freezing process is to have the drug Goserelin injected into the eggs; this injection puts the eggs into a temporary menopause-like state, allowing them to "rest" until they're ready to be fertilized. Use of this drug has been shown to nearly double a woman's chances of pregnancy after treatment (WNDU.com).

Option 2: Freezing Ovarian Tissue

Another option to consider (after speaking with a fertility education consultant) is that of having the ovarian tissue frozen while the woman is undergoing treatment. This is a more experimental option available only with OBGYN board review oversight, but it may be worth looking into as an alternative to freezing eggs–especially for those who may not have enough time to undergo the egg-freezing procedure before treatment.

Specifically, the ovarian tissue can be surgically removed prior to cancer treatment. Once treatment is finished, it can be re-inserted, where there's a good chance that the ovaries will begin to produce eggs once again, according to a WCPO news article.

Between freezing eggs and freezing ovarian tissue under OBGYN board review supervision, there are some viable fertility options for women who have been diagnosed with cancer. By working closely with one's oncologists to keep women's health in mind throughout the process, a female's dream of starting a family doesn't have to be taken away from here due to a cancer diagnosis.