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Oncofertility

Cancer: Not An End to Fertility

Whenever a person is diagnosed with cancer it is a traumatic experience. It can be even more distressing if the person is of reproductive age and has not completed their childbearing. Many of the treatments for cancer (i.e. surgery, chemotherapy, radiation) can be detrimental to a patient’s reproduction. There are many factors to consider when contemplating fertility preservation prior to cancer treatments. The physicians at IVFMD can consult with your oncologist and determine the safety of fertility treatments and the time available to complete them.

At IVFMD we can “fast track” patients into a fertility preservation IVF cycle so that any delay of cancer treatment would be minimal. For a woman with a committed male partner, or one willing to consider the use of donor sperm, cryopreservation of embryos remains the best option.

Success rates are mostly dependent on the age of the female and her ovarian reserve. For women without a male partner, or unwilling to use donor sperm, egg cryopreservation is now an option. This approach is newer and thus the success rates are less known.

Some cancers are estrogen sensitive (i.e. some breast and uterine cancers) so our approach to fertility preservation must be tailored accordingly. Aromatase inhibitors (a type of medication) can be used during an IVF stimulation to keep the estrogen level low. This allows us to retrieve eggs without worsening the course of the disease.

Once a patient has completed their cancer treatments the oncologist can determine when it is safe for them to attempt to conceive. There are also alternatives for women who have already been through cancer treatments and are now either perimenopausal or menopausal. Eggs from a suitable donor (either known or anonymous) can extend a woman’s fertile years. Adoption of embryos (created by another couple) is usually completed through an agency. Here at IVFMD we are ready to evaluate any difficult situation and provide you with a thorough explanation of your options.