Fertility Planning Now Part of Cancer Treatment

Chemo can cause infertility….. chemo kills everything…. just like antibiotics…. so much for advanced medicine – but true of a male medical policy…. similar to their war policy ‘go in for the kill and take no prisoners.’

Cancer Treatment Now Includes Fertility Planning

Women’s eNews

By Pamela Grossman
WeNews correspondent
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Young women facing cancer treatments have fertility-preservation options to consider. Egg freezing is a newer technique, and expensive, but some programs are free of charge. Embryo freezing is more advanced but requires legal safeguards.

A young woman raised her hand at the end of a seminar for young cancer survivors.

It was last spring, during an I[2]Y (or “I’m Too Young for This!”) meeting, and the seminar was on post-cancer family planning.

She said she received radiation to her abdomen during treatment for cancer in her teens and, as a result, was being told that her eggs were most likely not viable, though she is well within child-bearing age. She was upset that fertility issues were not discussed with her and her family at the time of her treatment.

Until recently, standard cancer treatments have not included female fertility preservation as a joint concern.

If cancer was discovered, regardless of the patient’s age, it was treated as quickly and as aggressively as deemed necessary (chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation being the primary tools), and that was that; fertility was not generally a part of the conversation.

But as awareness grows about the potential effects of treatments on female fertility, and as fertility-preservation techniques become more sophisticated, these discussions are changing.

Several programs now help girls and women who are facing cancer treatments to retain their fertility options for the future.

One of them, the “Fertility Rescue” program of the Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine (with locations in Illinois, Texas, Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and California), offers free egg-retrieval cycles for women of childbearing age who are facing treatments that might compromise their fertility.

The eggs are then frozen and stored, to be thawed at the time that a pregnancy is desired. This is an important resource given that each egg-retrieval effort can cost $10,000 and few insurers offer coverage.

“The main costs are our fees, which we waive,” says Sher’s Dr. Drew Tortoriello. “The medications are being donated by the pharmaceutical companies. We also do not charge for storage for the first two years.”

 

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.