You want to grow your family, but you find yourself facing a diagnosis of cancer or another medical condition that requires aggressive treatments that are likely to alter your future fertility.
Causes and Concerns
When facing a diagnosis of cancer or other serious medical condition, thinking about growing your family may be the last thing on your mind. However, advances in medicine have led to remarkable cancer survival rates and alternative options for people who may otherwise have had limited future fertility choices.
Unfortunately, radiation and chemotherapies often have a negative impact on both the female and male reproductive systems. Also, some cancer treatments may involve surgery that partially or completely removes reproductive organs, such as the ovaries or uterus.
Advanced reproductive technologies (IVF) provide options for people to create their family once they are disease free. Many of these fertility preserving treatments can be initiated and completed within a couple weeks and rarely delay or compromise your cancer or medical treatments. In fact, success is greater if fertility preserving therapies are completed before exposure to chemicals, radiation, or reproductive surgery.
Cancer-survivor studies suggest that people who don’t consider these options beforehand often express regret once they are cured and ready to move on to starting a family. For these reasons, it’s important to discuss fertility preservation (oncofertility) with your Oncologist before beginning a course of treatment.
Solutions and Treatment
If your Cancer doctor hasn’t already talked to you about fertility, then discuss it with him/her; often they will understand your concerns and support your decision to pursue fertility preserving options.
Fertility preservation services may include:
- Egg freezing (banking)
- Sperm freezing (banking)
- Embryo banking
- Comprehensive Chromosome Screening and Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis to determine whether an embryo is viable (CCS/PGS and PGD)
- Surrogacy/gestational carrier
- Egg donor
- Sperm donor
If you are a patient, we can consult with your Oncologist to determine the best course of action so that you can preserve your fertility and receive the treatment you need.