Fertility preservation is the effort to help cancer patients retain their fertility, or ability to procreate. Research into how cancer affects reproductive health and preservation options are growing, sparked in part by the increase in the survival rate of cancer patients.
Certain cancer treatments can harm the fertility or cause sterility. The effects might be temporary or permanent. The likelihood that cancer treatment will harm your fertility depends on the type and stage of cancer, cancer treatment, and your age at the time of treatment.
A “body system malfunction” can change a man's fertility and affect his ability to father a child. Here are some things that can happen:
Most chemotherapy (chemo) drugs can damage a woman’s eggs, affecting her fertility. This depends on the woman’s age, the types of drugs she gets, and the drug doses, making it hard to predict if a woman is likely to be fertile after chemo.
If you are planning cancer treatment and want to preserve your fertility, talk to your doctor, oncologist or a reproductive specialist as soon as possible. Your fertility can be damaged by one cancer therapy session and, for women, some methods of fertility preservation are typically done during certain phases of the menstrual cycle.
Embryo cryopreservation : Cryopreservation of embryos is the process of preserving an embryo at sub-zero temperatures, generally at an embryogenesis stage corresponding to pre-implantation, that is, from fertilization to the blastocyst stage.
Egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) : Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is a process in which a woman's eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen and stored as a method to preserve reproductive potential in women of reproductive age. The first human birth from a frozen oocyte was reported in 1986.
Gonadal shielding :If you're having radiation applied to an area far from your pelvis, carefully placed shields can reduce your reproductive organs' exposure to scatter radiation.
Ovarian transposition (oophoropexy) : Ovarian transposition is a surgical maneuver used to protect ovarian function before delivery of gonadocidal doses of radiation therapy. Ovarian transposition has been performed in patients whose treatment includes pelvic radiotherapy as a part of management for Hodgkin's disease and other gynecologic malignancies.
Surgical removal of the cervix (radical trachelectomy) : If you have early-stage cervical cancer, this procedure can help preserve your uterus.
Other methods of fertility preservation for women still being researched include:
Ovarian tissue cryopreservation : During this procedure ovarian tissue is surgically removed, frozen and later reimplanted.
Ovarian suppression before cancer therapy In this treatment, hormonal therapy is used to suppress ovarian function and protect eggs during cancer treatment.
Men can also take steps to preserve their fertility before undergoing cancer treatment. For example:
Sperm cryopreservation : Semen cryopreservation (commonly called sperm banking or sperm freezing) is a procedure to preserve sperm cells. Semen can be used successfully indefinitely after cryopreservation.
Gonadal shielding : Carefully placed shields can reduce your testicles' exposure to radiation.
Another method of fertility preservation for men still being researched is a procedure in which testicular tissue is surgically removed, frozen and later reimplanted (testicular tissue cryopreservation).
If you want to preserve your fertility before cancer treatment, talk to your doctor, oncologist or a reproductive specialist. Getting information about fertility preservation methods before you begin cancer treatment can help you make an informed choice.
We are the leading Infertility Treatment and IVF Clinic in Kolkata and are internationally recognized as a centre of excellence. At the helm is our Director - Dr. Sudarsan Ghosh Dastidar, a man with over 30 years of experience in this subject.