Today young adult survivors of cancer and other diseases are looking forward to a future of long term survival due to improved treatments. However, many of the therapies that have so effectively helped increase survival have side effects that may cause the loss of fertility.
For women, certain therapies can cause ovarian damage or failure, early menopause, genetic damage to growing eggs and other reproductive problems.
For men, treatments can cause damage to the testes and interfere with sperm production.
New reproductive technologies are providing possibilities for preserving fertility in survivors of cancer and other diseases, yet many patients are unaware of these options.
In most cases, decisions on fertility preservation need to be made before treatment begins. Reproductive specialists and patient navigators are working with physicians from clinical centers such as the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center to help patients explore the issues surrounding fertility preservation. Your treatment team can help you understand the options available, assess risks and eligibility, and provide referrals to individuals who are experts in this field.
Available Fertility Preservation Options
Each patient is unique. The impact of a given treatment on fertility can vary and so can the time available before starting life saving cancer treatments. Fertility preservation treatments must be tailored to the individual circumstances and integrated with the treatment regimen. Close coordination between the treating physician and the reproductive endocrinologist is the key to preserving family-building options for patients. Click on the links below to find out more about fertility preservation options.
Call the FERTLINE
For more information, call the Fertilty Preservation hotline at 1-866-708-FERT(3378) and get connected with a fertility preservation program that’s closest to you.
Providing care to reproductive-age cancer patients who wish to pursue fertility preservation prior to initiating cancer treatment—the oncofertility patient—requires the collaborative efforts of oncologists, reproductive endocrinologists, nurses, and counselors, and all within a very short time frame. Both clinician and patient education about the potential gonadotoxicity of cancer therapies and the available options for fertility preservation are essential to improve patient access to these procedures. In the hospital setting, an oncofertility patient navigator can help guide patients across institutional and disciplinary boundaries to assess their cancer treatment and infertility risk, seek consultation with reproductive endocrinologists, and discuss treatment options and costs.
SaveMyFertility.org is an authoritative resource for adult cancer patients and the parents of children with cancer who want to learn more about preserving their fertility before and during cancer treatment, and protecting their hormonal health after treatment.
MyOnco is a website for adolescent patients and their families to learn more about the potential effects of cancer (and other serious diseases) and its treatments on fertility, as well as the options for preserving fertility and resources for discussing these issues with their doctor.
Interactive patient education resources are provided by the Oncofertility Consortium to provide information for patients and their parents and partners whose fertility may have or will be impaired by treatment for a disease. Find answers to cancer-related fertility questions, guidance for talking to physicians about fertility concerns, and assistance in finding a local fertility preservation specialist.
Learn about the organizations that partner with the Oncofertility Consortium to ensure advanced care for young cancer patients. Also, hear patients' stories about their experiences with fertility preservation and access other learning materials provided by the Oncofertility Consortium.