A cancer diagnosis is a life-altering event, and for many female patients, it raises concerns about preserving their fertility. The treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can have detrimental effects on reproductive health. Fortunately, there are several options available for preserving fertility in female cancer patients, which we offer at Neway Fertility.
Egg Freezing (Oocyte Cryopreservation)
Egg freezing is a popular and widely accessible method for fertility preservation. It involves stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, which are then harvested and frozen for future use. This procedure is typically performed before the initiation of cancer treatments and allows women to preserve their eggs until they are ready to start a family.
This option involves fertilizing eggs with sperm to create embryos, which are then cryopreserved for later use. It’s an excellent choice for women in committed relationships or those who are comfortable with the ethical and legal aspects of embryo storage. Embryo cryopreservation has a higher success rate than egg freezing, as embryos are hardier than individual eggs.
Ovarian Tissue Freezing (Ovarian Cryopreservation)
In cases where there isn’t enough time for the typical egg or embryo freezing procedures, ovarian tissue freezing is an option. A small piece of ovarian tissue is removed and frozen, with the hope of transplanting it back into the body after cancer treatment. Once re-implanted, this tissue can potentially restore fertility.
In Vitro Maturation (IVM)
IVM is a procedure in which immature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries, matured in the laboratory, and then frozen for future use. This is a less commonly used method for fertility preservation but may be suitable in specific cases.
In situations where a woman’s own eggs cannot be preserved, donor eggs can be an option. Donor eggs can be fertilized with sperm and implanted in the uterus through in vitro fertilization (IVF). This method allows women to carry a pregnancy, but it’s essential to acknowledge the emotional and ethical considerations involved.
If cancer treatments render a woman unable to carry a pregnancy, surrogacy can be a viable solution. A gestational surrogate can carry an embryo created using the patient’s eggs (or donor eggs) and sperm to term.
It’s crucial for female cancer patients to discuss their fertility preservation options with their oncologists and a fertility specialist before beginning cancer treatment. Timing is often of the essence, as fertility preservation is typically most successful when initiated before cancer treatment begins.
Additionally, patients should be aware of the financial implications, legal considerations, and emotional aspects associated with fertility preservation. In some cases, cancer centers may offer financial assistance or work with local organizations to help make these services more accessible.
Preserving fertility for female cancer patients is a complex and emotionally charged decision. However, with advances in reproductive medicine and the availability of various options, many women have the opportunity to maintain their fertility even after a cancer diagnosis. Open communication with healthcare professionals, counselors, and support networks is essential to make the best decisions for individual circumstances. If you want to explore fertility preservation options for cancer patients, contact our team at Neway Fertility. Call our NYC office to schedule a consultation with one of our fertility specialists.
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