Your patients fertility while facing cancer
For cancer patients, a cancer diagnosis itself is devastating, but due to the vast advances made in the fields of oncology, diagnoses are made much earlier and treatments are becoming more and more successful – ultimately leading to increased survival rates. It is, therefore, important to consider fertility as an important factor for both male and female patients who have been diagnosed with cancer or other serious chronic conditions and diseases that may impact future fertility.
Cancer treatments may compromise your ovarian function and/or permanently damage ovarian tissue. Women who survive cancer now have hope of achieving a pregnancy by saving some of their own eggs. It is important that egg retrieval and freezing happens prior to chemo or radiation therapies.
However, if treatment cannot be delayed, there are still options available to attempt to preserve your fertility, including ovarian shielding or transposition (shielding ovaries from direct radiation or surgically moving the ovaries out of the way). Additional treatments include ovarian suppression (i.e. turning off the stimulation that activates the ovaries, and allowing them to stay in a resting state, thus protecting them from the effects of chemotherapy).
If cancer treatment has been completed and direct steps were not previously taken to preserve fertility, there are still options including the use of donor eggs (if the patient no longer produces viable eggs, but her uterus is still healthy) or utilizing gestational carriers/surrogacy.
Pacific NW Fertility is prepared to help your patient move through the process quickly so he or she can then begin cancer treatment and recovery. We also offer financial counseling so that patient care is the priority and not cost prohibitive.
To expedite your female patient's fertility preservation prior to the start of cancer treatment, please contact Jane Perkins, ARNP at 206-515-0000. and complete a Clinic Referral Form (oocyte and/or embryo cryopreservation).
Several fertility preservation options are available to men who are diagnosed with certain types of cancer. This includes sperm banking (freezing/cryopreservation) or testicular tissue freezing, in which a small amount of tissue from a man’s testicles (including the cells that produce sperm) is surgically removed, frozen, analyzed, and stored for future use.
To refer your male patient for sperm cryopreservation prior to the start of cancer treatment, please call our Andrology Lab at 206-515-0002, or simply complete this Andrology Order Form and fax to the number provided. We will schedule your patient for one or more collections, as time allows before the start of treatment, and fax the results back to your office.
I would encourage my friend to seek professional help as early as possible. Both seeing a medical team that specializes in fertility treatment as well as someone to support their emotional health. I would advise them to consider all options. Loving a child regardless of how they came to you is such an incredible gift. I would encourage my friend to not give up no matter how hard the process becomes.