Fertility preservation is the process of saving or protecting eggs, sperm, or reproductive tissue so that a person can use them to have biological children in the future.
The diagnosis of cancer and planning treatment can be extremely stressful and traumatic. Things can feel very rushed, while you are starting to come to terms with your diagnosis. Having children may be the last thing you want to think about right now. But talking to a health professional now can help you understand the long-term effects of your treatment and the options that are available to you.
Having cancer or other serious medical conditions may affect your fertility. This is often caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. Reliable information prior to treatment and access to fertility preserving techniques can increase the chance of having children in the future.
Options before treatment
You may choose not to proceed with any of the following techniques to help preserve your fertility and there may still be options available later on. For this reason it is important to keep in contact with the fertility team after treatment has finished. The treatment options will be tailored to you and your individual circumstances, such as:
- Your desire for children in the future
- Your current relationship situation
- Your tumour type and hormone-sensitivity
- The particular treatment type planned
- The time available before cancer therapy is to start.
The options may include:
- Freezing eggs, ovarian tissue or embryos for later use
- Protecting the ovaries during chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
After your treatment is complete and you are ready for pregnancy, there may be other options to consider such as donor eggs or embryos and surrogacy.
For more information:
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy used to treat cancer or preparative regimens for bone marrow transplantation can result in infertility. Semen cryopreservation is available as a fertility-preserving option for pubertal males, but currently, no fertility-preserving options are available for prepubertal boys who are not yet producing sperm.
However, experimental techniques are currently being developed that may provide fertility options for patients that cryopreserve testicular tissue prior to gonadotoxic treatment.
Procedures for fertility preservation include:
- Sperm banking
- Gonadal shielding
- Testicular sperm extraction (TESE)
- Testicular tissue cryopreservation (TTC) – experimental.
Please feel free to make an appointment to discuss this further with Dr Rozen.
You can make an appoint in two ways:
- Request an Appointment via this website, by clicking here
- Call us on (03) 8376 6230.
- A referral letter from your GP (couples trying to conceive may use a joint referral: this must name both partners)
- Copies of any blood tests your GP has recently arranged for you
- Copies of imaging reports and ideally the images themselves of any investigations you have recently undertaken
- Copies of your medical records/operation reports from any gynaecological surgery you have had in the past
- A completed new patient registration form
- A signed consent form for a transvaginal ultrasound (if required).
Sometimes it can be helpful to take a family member or friend with you when you meet with a specialist. You may feel more confident if someone else is with you, a relative or friend can help remind you about things you planned to share with or ask the doctor, and he/she also can help you remember what the doctor says.