Preserving fertility before undergoing cancer treatment

Preserving fertility before undergoing cancer treatment

Julie Scott, DNP
Julie Scott, DNP
Preserving fertility before undergoing cancer treatment | cancerGO

Cancer treatment can significantly impact a person’s fertility, of both sexes, particularly for young patients.  However, there are options available for those who wish to preserve their fertility before undergoing cancer treatment.

Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, can damage the reproductive organs and potentially affect a person’s ability to conceive naturally. The extent of the damage depends on the type of treatment, dosage, and duration of treatment. Certain types of cancer, such as testicular cancer, can also affect fertility directly.

In women, chemotherapy can cause damage to the ovaries, leading to a decrease in the number of eggs or even premature menopause. Radiation therapy can also damage the ovaries, uterus, and cervix, leading to infertility or a high-risk pregnancy. Surgery, particularly for gynecologic cancers, can also damage the reproductive organs.

In men, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can affect the production of sperm, leading to decreased sperm count, abnormal sperm shape or motility, and even infertility. Surgery, particularly for prostate or testicular cancer, can also affect the production of sperm.

To preserve fertility, cancer patients can consider fertility preservation options before undergoing cancer treatment. These options include:

  1. Egg freezing: This involves collecting eggs from a woman’s ovaries, freezing them, and storing them for future use. The eggs can be thawed and fertilized with sperm through in vitro fertilization (IVF) when the patient is ready to conceive.
  2. Embryo freezing: This involves fertilizing the collected eggs with sperm to create embryos, which are then frozen and stored for future use. The embryos can be thawed and implanted in the woman’s uterus through IVF when the patient is ready to conceive.
  3. Ovarian tissue freezing: This involves removing a portion of a woman’s ovary and freezing it for future use. The frozen ovarian tissue can be transplanted back into the woman’s body, where it can resume its normal function and produce eggs.
  4. Sperm banking: This involves collecting and freezing a man’s sperm for future use. The frozen sperm can be thawed and used for insemination or IVF when the patient is ready to conceive.

It is essential to discuss fertility preservation options with a healthcare provider before starting cancer treatment. Fertility preservation options may not be suitable for all cancer patients, and the timing and type of cancer treatment may impact the success of fertility preservation options.

Julie Scott, DNP
Julie Scott, DNP
Julie is an oncology certified Oncology Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of medical oncology experience. In addition to her clinical work, she is an accomplished healthcare writer providing oncology content for various publications. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member for a Master's nursing program and a chair for Doctoral nursing students.

Download our
mobile app

Share this post
You may also like
Articles
Lymphoma
November 8, 2022

What is Lymphoma? Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes, which have a role to play in your immune system. When the lymphocytes become abnormal, they no longer function normally and become cancerous. Lymphoma can start in either the B lymphocytes or T lymphocytes of the immune system.  There are…

Julie Scott, DNP

author

Articles
Characteristics of breast cancer
November 8, 2022

Characteristics of breast cancer When a biopsy is done, and cancer has been confirmed, there are additional things the oncologist needs to know about the cancer.  Hormone receptor status: This determines if the cancer cells use either estrogen or progesterone (or both) to grow. If there are estrogen receptors on…

Julie Scott, DNP

author

Articles
Colorectal cancer treatment (CRC)
November 8, 2022

Treatment is often classified into local therapy or systemic therapy. Local therapy means that it only treats the colon or rectum, and not any other parts of the body. Systemic therapy is treatment that goes around your entire body, treating cancer cells that may be present outside of the colon.…

Julie Scott, DNP

author

cancerGO gives you access to a community

Where are people to listen, answer questions, share information, and offer valuable and timely advice