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Fertility Preservation in Individuals Diagnosed with Cancer

Fertility Preservation in Individuals Diagnosed with Cancer

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is devastating and takes time to process, but for many newly diagnosed cancer patients, it’s important to act quickly. Treatment options are often discussed and recommended to be scheduled right away to prevent any spread of cancer.

This quick action is beneficial in aggressively fighting off cancer but doesn’t leave much time for figuring out all cancer's impacts on your body.

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can harm your fertility. For many, this can mean the chance of conceiving in the future is not possible, but with the right planning ahead of treatment, you can work on preserving your future fertility potential. 

Fertility Preservation Options:

When it comes to preserving fertility for those undergoing cancer treatment, there are a few ways that your doctor can work with you to help protect your fertility for the future. 

While undergoing cancer treatment, you can also discuss the importance of fertility preservation and see what they can do to help protect reproductive organs. There may be a few different treatment options that allow for better protection.

Your doctor may also suggest reaching out to a fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist to consider egg, sperm, or embryo freezing. By pursuing freezing options, you will have the best chances of building your family in the future. This is a great option for anyone undergoing treatment, even when they are not ready to start their family. 

Freezing eggs or sperm allows you to prepare for the future but does not require you to have a partner, while freezing embryos is a great option for someone already planning to have children with an intended partner. 

The sperm freezing process is relatively simple and can be done similarly to giving a sperm sample for diagnostic testing. Depending on the quality of sperm collected and your future family planning goals, the doctor may request additional samples be collected to offer the best chances of success. 

The egg-freezing process is a little more invasive than sperm freezing but can still be done in a timely fashion before performing cancer treatments in most cases. This process uses medication to stimulate the ovaries to produce several eggs during one cycle. The medication is taken for about one to two weeks, and then you go in for a quick egg retrieval process that allows the fertility specialist to extract as many eggs as possible to freeze for future use. 

What if Fertility Preservation Wasn’t An Option During Treatment:

For some going through cancer treatment, you may not have the resources or time to look into fertility preservation, but that doesn’t mean you are out of options for growing a family in the future. 

When a patient is ready to consider trying for a family, they can visit a reproductive endocrinologist who can evaluate their current fertility situation. This can help determine the future route for growing a family. 

For those who no longer produce healthy eggs or sperm, there is the option to connect with a donor. Egg and sperm donation can be done with fertility treatment such as IUI or IVF. 

For women who can no longer safely carry a baby or get pregnant, there is also the option of surrogacy that can be discussed once you have undergone the diagnostic testing. 

Next Steps for Cancer Patients:

If you recently were diagnosed with cancer and want to review your fertility preservation options, give us a call here at OC Fertility. We know the importance of making quick decisions and will ensure our office can get you in for an initial consultation to discuss our options immediately.  Undergoing fertility treatment before starting cancer treatment may seem overwhelming or daunting. However, our team will be sure to communicate with your cancer team to ensure everyone is involved in treatment decisions and that treatment timelines for fertility preservation and cancer treatment are not compromised.

We encourage you to schedule your initial consultation for patients who have already undergone treatment but want to see where their fertility stands post-treatment. We offer diagnostic testing that can provide many answers about your fertility and help you make the next best decision regarding growing your family.

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