Huntington Reproductive Center - Blogs

The HRC Fertility Blog is a resource for patients and those seeking infertility related issues and articles. Check back often or subscribe to this blog as it is changed weekly by the HRC staff.

Fertility Preservation in Cancer Patients

As frightening as a cancer diagnosis is, learning that you will never be able to have children can be equally devastating.  In fact, just a few years ago, women undergoing cancer treatments had limited to no options at all for preserving their future fertility.  Unlike men, who have long been able to bank sperm for future offspring, egg freezing has traditionally yielded low pregnancy rates. Thankfully, that has changed. Due to new groundbreaking laboratory techniques, frozen eggs now have high survival and fertilization rates--giving women more options than ever before for preserving their fertility. Today, women cancer patients can choose between freezing oocytes (eggs), embryos, and ovarian tissue before starting treatment.  And that’s not all. Genetic testing of frozen eggs, although experimental, is now available and yields a significantly higher rate of pregnancy than previous egg freezing technologies.

While most cancer patients will opt for egg freezing or embryo banking, this isn’t always an option for girls who have not yet gone through puberty or for women who need to start treatment immediately. The good news is these patients now have access to a promising new technology called ovarian tissue cryopreservation. This procedure removes an ovary from the body without hormone stimulation and carefully dissected and freezes the ovarian tissue. This tissue can be thawed and placed back into the patient’s body when she is ready to have children at a later date.

A team of oncologists and reproductive specialists will work together to counsel each patient about a customized treatment and fertility preservation plan.  Keep in mind—Just because you have cancer today, doesn’t mean you can’t start a family someday. Your children will be waiting for you.

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