Dec 28 2015

Fertility Preservation: Considering Future Plans Before Cancer Treatment

 

A couple together outdoorsDr. Janelle Dorsett is committed to helping patients start families if it's been their dream for years. Serving the greater Lubbock area, this commitment sometimes involves special treatments that take into account future fertility matters, or preserving the ability to have a child at a future date. Getting detailed infertility information can empower patients, and can help lead to a family in the future.

It's with this topic in mind that we'd like to consider fertility preservation, which is an important option to consider for people who are battling cancer.

How Cancer Impacts Fertility

Both cancer and cancer treatment can have a negative impact on your general health and wellness, including your fertility in the future.

If you have testicular cancer, or a form of cancer that affects the ovaries or uterus, this is a serious concern. Surgical treatments for cancer may be required to remove cancerous growths, or might involve the removal of the affected organs themselves. We should also note that chemotherapy and radiation therapy can both lead to cases of male and female infertility. While they help eliminate and control cancer cells, the procedures may also affect hormone levels and other functions of the body related to fertility. In some cases, cancer and the ensuing treatment cause cancer patients to become sterile.

What Is Fertility Preservation?

Fertility preservation refers to various methods and procedures available that help ensure a person is able to have children after successfully beating cancer. These methods of preservation typically involve retrieving viable eggs and sperm from patients prior to cancer treatment. The egg and sperm are then placed in carefully monitored and regulated low temperatures, protecting the cells from damage so they can be used months or even years later in a fertility treatment such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

When Is Fertility Preservation a Good Idea?

If you know that you will be undergoing cancer treatment in the near future and have plans to have children following treatments, it's of the utmost importance that you start discussing options for fertility preservation. Your doctor and a fertility specialist can provide you with the necessary information. The preservation methods can be initiated sooner rather than later so you can focus on the road ahead while having peace of mind about a family later on.

Female Fertility Preservation Options

There are three common options for preserving female fertility. They are as follows:

  • Oocyte Cryopreservation (Egg Freezing) – This process involves stimulating ovulation with fertility drugs and then taking healthy, viable eggs to be frozen by fertility specialists.

  • Embryo Cryopreservation – Similar to egg freezing, this process preserves embryos instead. Embryos are fertilized eggs that are beginning the cellular division process.

  • Gonadal Shielding – This process places special shields that reduce the amount of radiation that your reproductive organs are exposed to.

Additional fertility preservation methods can be discussed in greater detail if the above options do not prove to be viable for patients.

Male Fertility Preservation Options

There are two common options for preserving male fertility. They are as follows:

  • Sperm Cryopreservation – This process involves freezing a sperm sample taken from a patient to be used at a later time. Sometimes sperm extraction techniques are used to obtain viable sperm if a man experiences issues with low sperm count (azoospermia).

  • Gonadal Shielding – As with women, this process protects the reproductive organs from radiation exposure.

Dr. Janelle Dorsett Is Here to Help

Fertility preservation is a major decision, and it helps to have all the info you need to make smart and confident choices. Dr. Dorsett will be more than happy to answer your questions and address your concerns so that you can make the right choice for your situation with absolute confidence.

Contact the Centre for Reproductive Medicine

To learn more about you options for having a child, we encourage you to contact our team of assisted reproduction specialists today. During the consultation process, the team at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine will make sure that all of your options are explored in full detail.

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The Centre for Reproductive Medicine
Lubbock Office

Address: 3405 22nd St Ste 300
Lubbock, TX 79410

Phone: (806) 788-1212