Previous Cancer Treatment in Women and Men
If you have been diagnosed with cancer or other diseases requiring chemotherapy or radiation you may not be thinking about the affects on your future pregnancy. However, prior to cancer treatment is the time to consider your the path to reproduction.
With cancer survival rates growing, many people are searching for ways to continue their lives after treatment. One possibility is preservation of your eggs or sperm prior to chemotherapy and radiation.
Additionally, certain non-cancerous conditions such as lupus, other autoimmune diseases and hematological diseases are treated with chemotherapy drugs that also can cause infertility. If you are in childbearing years, exploring all your options to preserve your future chances for offspring is recommended.
What is Fertility Preservation If I’m Facing Gonadotoxic Therapy or Radiation?
Fertility preservation consists of using established methods such as sperm cryopreservation for men and embryo and oocyte (egg) cryopreservation for women. All available options can often be performed alone or in combination without causing delay in cancer treatment.
Preserving ovarian function is more difficult. One of the best ways to attempt this is by undergoing an in vitro fertilization cycle (IVF) and creating embryos for your future use.
Once IVF is ruled a safe choice for your condition, you would need the necessary time to have the stimulation and collection of eggs. Also your spouse, partner or option for donor sperm would have to be available for embryo cryopreservation to be accomplished. If these are not options, once the IVF cycle is performed you could consider oocyte (egg) cryopreservation.
These should be discussed with all your team of physicians including oncologists, internists and fertility specialist. At Inovi we are easily available to coordinate and work with the entire process.
Our main goal for women cancer patients is to preserve gametes, embryos or gonadal tissue for use at a future time.
Male fertility preservation options are limited to cryopreservation of sperm that is collected via ejaculation, retrieved surgically or via a testicular biopsy. Frequently even prior to cancer treatment, the sperm of a patient is not of good quality. In these cases, assisted reproductive techniques such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be used to freeze even one ejaculate that might have enough quality sperm to raise the chances of a future child.
Can I Reproduce After Cancer Treatment?
The answer is yes, possibly. If you have maintained your reproductive organs and function, you and your partner may attempt to conceive normally. If not, seeking advice and treatment options at Inovi and with our fertility specialists are your best option. If you stored your gametes and embryos, we can discuss their potential use. Other alternatives that might be considered would be:
- Donor Gametes
- Donor Embryos
- Gestational Surrogacy
Can I Protect My Offspring from Cancer Genes?
Once you learn you have cancer, you may be thinking of how important it is to detect a defective gene that could be passed to your child making them at greater risk for the disease. Prenatal diagnosis and preimplantation genetic testing PGT have made it possible for parents with heritable cancers to prevent transmission of cancer genes to their children. In this process, the embryos are screened for these genes and terminated.
Other diseases that some patients choose use of PGT
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Fragile X Syndrome
If you are considering preserving your reproductive capabilities prior to cancer treatment, contact our offices to schedule your consultation at 703-401-9000.
Let us help you consider your options and discuss all possibilities with your current cancer team.
Egg Cryopreservation (Freezing)
Embryo Cryopreservation (Freezing)
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT)