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What are fertility preservation benefits for patients diagnosed with cancer?

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6 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Melvin H. Thornton, Associate Professor

Gynaecologist, Medical Director & IVF Director Global Fertility & Genetics
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The benefits of fertility preservation for men and women diagnosed with cancer; there are many types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy that will sterilize both the male and the female, which would make them infertile in the future. So it’s important that we’re able to freeze the eggs or freeze embryos for women and freeze sperm for men prior to the chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Once the chemotherapy or radiation therapy has been initiated, many times we’re not able to obtain healthy eggs or healthy sperm after the treatment. And many times the male or female may go into sterilization due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy. So it’s very, very important that you have a conversation with your oncologist as soon as you make the diagnosis of cancer, and discuss fertility preservation. For single men and single women, the options are to freeze eggs, or freeze sperm. For women or men who are in relationships, the options at that point in time if they’re in a long-term relationship are to consider freezing embryos prior to the chemo or radiation treatment.

Answer from: Ioannis Zervomanolakis, PhD

Gynaecologist, Obstetrician Hygeia IVF Athens
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The main issue with cancer treatments with chemotherapy or radiotherapy is the fact that these treatments are toxic to the ovaries.
So women that undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy have a high possibility to have no period. We call it after the end of the treatment, because of the toxicity of the medication or the radiation. That is the reason why we give these women a chance to freeze their eggs before starting treatment. So we can make sure that this toxicity will not affect the later family planning.

Answer from: Ahmed Amer, DipRCPath, MBA, MSc, MEng

Embryologist, Senior Embryologist ARGC Limited
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Benefit of fertility preservation for patients diagnosed with cancer is gives them the option of having their own genetic offspring in the future or at least gives them a hope of having their genetic offspring in the future.

Answer from: Jessica Subira, M.D. Consultant in Gynecology, Sub-specialist in Reproductive Medicine

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Patients diagnosed with cancer benefit the most of the fertility preservation because we know that cancer treatment in the form of usually chemotherapy that’s the most important treatment used but also pelvic radiotherapy can affect ovarian reserve and can destroy oocytes within the ovaries and also sperm so the rationale behind the use of fertility preservation for these patients is to store gametes so they can use them later on and they still have a chance of having a pregnancy using their own gametes even if they have undergone premature menopause as a result of the treatment. That’s why it’s so important for all specialists involved in cancer treatment to refer patients quickly to fertility specialists to discuss this option with them.

Answer from: Maria José Mendiola, MD, MSc in Human Genetics, MSc in Science Communication, ObGyn

Gynaecologist, Gynaecologist in Reproductive Medicine & Reproductive Genetics Clínica Monterrico
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The risk of Ovarian failure after radiotherapy or chemotherapy is a concern among oncological women. People who are diagnosed with cancer before they reach puberty now have extremely good odds for surviving the cancer but the treatments that save their lives may destroy their ability to have their own children. When a person is facing a cancer diagnosis, having children later in life may seem like a low priority. Furthermore an important part is to carefully assess each person’s medical situations and we should establish a treatment plan so this can help decide the best options for the patients. That is why fertility preservation should be offered to all patients regardless of whether they have partners or other children. After personalized advice which should be given to patients if the patient wishes to cryopreserve the gametes before they can be affected with oncological treatments it would be the most appropriate option and it is important to say that the psycho-emotional benefits of fertility preservation are remarkable after a cancer diagnosis because concerns about biological conception in the future.

Answer from: Bárbara Silvera Gijón, Embriologist

Embryologist, Embriologist Quirónsalud Valencia
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Certain types of cancer surgery can result in removal of organs needed for a pregnancy, and certain treatments might change hormone levels or cause damage to a female’s  and males reproductive cells. These effects result in losing their fertility during treatment that can be either temporary or permanent. These patients may choose to take steps that might help preserve their fertility so they can try to have a baby  after the  treatment.

About this question:

What benefits can fertility preservation bring me if I'm a cancer patient?

Cancer patients, especially if they are young or of reproductive age, may worry if they will be able to have children after the chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Fortunately, current medicine is able to help them protect their fertility till they are healthy and ready to have a baby.

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