Cancer: Protecting fertility during cancer treatment
Cancer A diagnosis of cancer is a life crisis for anyone and it can be difficult to focus on future fertility. However, cancer treatment may damage ovaries and lead to early menopause and in men it can affect sperm production.
A fertility preservation strategy must be planned early on by talking to your oncologist to gain an idea of your particular fertility risk. Referral to a fertility expert before treatment can help you select the best option to increase your chances of having a baby later on.
To preserve fertility prior to cancer treatment, men can freeze sperm, single women can freeze their eggs, and those who have a partner can freeze embryos (fertilised eggs). Innovative protocols for ovarian stimulation have been developed to enable cancer patients to have egg or embryo freezing swiftly irrespective of the phase of menstrual cycle. The latest fast-freezing technology, vitrification, has vastly improved success rates in this area. Adoption is of course another route to consider.
Cancer does not necessarily mean an end to your chance for a baby – the key is to be informed and proactive.