Prior to chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery that may affect fertility
Over the last decade, the survival rate of patients battling cancer has increased significantly. Many of them are able to resume a normal life. Men, oftentimes have the desire of fathering a child following cancer treatments. With cryopreservation this wish can become a feasible project. Regrettably, certain cancer treatments can affect fertility. Thanks to cryopreservation, it is possible for a patient to maintain the fertility he had prior to his treatments.
Fertility preservation before cancer treatments for women
Today, most young adults faced with a diagnosis of cancer will be cured and can lead a normal life after cancer. However, most cancer treatments lead to infertility or sterility. The decisions you make before your cancer treatment begins may have an important impact on your future ability to have genetic children. To allow for as many options as possible after cancer treatments, it is important to consider fertility preservation before your treatments. Thanks to advances in the field of assisted reproductive technology (ART), it is possible to preserve your fertility before the start of cancer treatments in a timely manner that will not compromise cancer care.
There are few options available
Egg cryopreservation: The freezing of eggs until you are ready to attempt pregnancy requires approximately two weeks of hormonal stimulation with injectable medication, and a ten minute procedure to extract eggs from the ovaries through the vaginal canal under local anesthesia. The eggs are frozen long-term. This opton also provides patient auton-omy in terms preserving her own garnetes.Embryo cryopreservation: The freezing of embryos until you are ready to attempt pregnancy requires the same stimulation as egg cryopreservation but after the eggs are extracted they are fertilized by a partner or donor sperm to create embryos that are then frozen long-term.
Ovarian tissue cryopreservation: The removal of part of the ovary or one whole ovary in order to freeze for future use is an experimental procedure that requires a laparoscopic (minimally-invasive procedure) under general anesthesia. Women can generally start cancer treatment the next day. Once pregnancy is desired the ovarian tissue is transplanted back onto or near the ovary and pregnancy is attempted naturally or through assisted reproductive techniques.
It is possible to maintain the ability to have a family in the future despite a cancer diagnosis. To get as much information as possible and to make an informed decision, ask your physician for a referral to see a fertility specialist.