Fertility Therapy for Cancer Patients and SurvivorsPatients facing cancer treatment with either radiation to the pelvic area or chemotherapy using drugs called alkylating agents (eg cyclophosphamide, or cytoxan) may be at high risk of undergoing premature menopause. In some cases doses of chemotherapy are not high enough to cause premature menopause, but will often result in the loss of eggs from the ovaries, which can lead to infertility and difficulty in conceiving.
The Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery is one of the few centers in the world that offers specific evaluation and therapy for women undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Our specialized services include control of irregular bleeding, options to preserve fertility while undergoing chemotherapy, surgery to move ovaries out of the radiation field, assisted reproductive technologies prior to cancer treatment and embryo cryopreservation prior to cancer treatment.
- Embryo Freezing
In some cases there is enough time prior to chemotherapy to treat women with fertility medications and harvest eggs, fertilize them with sperm, and freeze embryos for future use. The use of frozen embryos is a well established fertility treatment with proven pregnancy rates. It takes 2-5 weeks to undergo an in-vitro fertilization treatment, depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle the woman is in at the time she presents to our office.
- Egg Banking/Ovarian Tissue
At this time, egg freezing after ovarian stimulation is still investigational, and pregnancy rates are low and not well established.
- Leuprolide Acetate
The use of leuprolide acetate (lupron) to suppress ovarian function prior to and during chemotherapy may reduce the liklihood of losing all eggs and undergoing menopause due to chemotherapy. The data supporting the use of lupron, however, are not strong and it is not known whether they would be upheld in randomized trials.
Fertility After Hysterectomy and/or Bilateral Oophorectomy
Following Hysterectomy: Women who have had a hysterectomy but still have their ovaries can have children through the use of in-vitro fertilization technology and a gestational carrier. The eggs of a woman can be fertilized outside the body through the use of in-vitro fertilization, and the resulting embryos placed into the uterus of another woman or gestational carrier who will carry the pregnancy for the intended parent(s). This treatment is not medically complicated, but a great deal of counseling as well as testing is required to make sure the experience goes well for all involved.
For women who undergo removal of both ovaries, but retain their uterus, the use of donor eggs which are fertilized outside the body and then replaced into her uterus can be performed. This treatment is not medically complicated, but a great deal of counseling as well as testing is required to make sure the experience goes well for all involved.
Send Feedback to: Betty Simpkins
This page was last modified on 10/19/2011