Being diagnosed with cancer is not uncommon, and you might be concerned about your fertility. For this reason, the California Center for Reproductive Health offers oncofertility in Encino to create awareness and optimize accessibility to fertility preservation options. Note that you are not alone in this, as research shows that over 100,000 persons under 45 are diagnosed with cancer every year.
Although it can be terrifying to be diagnosed with cancer, it is so fortunate that cancer therapy advancements have led to increased survival, meaning that you have a chance to have a child in the future despite your condition. Have a deeper look at fertility preservation.
Effects of Cancer Treatment on Fertility
It is good first to understand how cancer treatments are affecting your fertility. Certain treatments can indeed affect your fertility either temporarily or permanently. However, the chances that your cancer treatment will affect your fertility depends on the type and stage of cancer you have, treatments you are undertaking, and your age.
Surgery can affect your fertility if it involves the removal of your uterus or ovaries.
Chemotherapy affects fertility depending on the drug and dose you are using. The drug Cisplatin and alkylating agents are known to cause the most damage.
Radiation can cause more damage than chemotherapy but depend on the radiation area size, location, and the amount of radiation used. In some extremes, radiation can destroy all the eggs in your ovaries.
Hormone therapies can also affect fertility. However, the effects are often reversible, and fertility can be restored once the treatment stops.
When to Consider Fertility Preservation
The best time to speak to your doctor about fertility preservation is when you want to preserve your fertility, and you are about to have cancer treatment. This is because, as noted above, some treatments will affect your fertility, and the effect can be permanent. Your provider at California Center for Reproductive Health will help you understand the options you have to make informed decisions.
Some fertility preservation methods can demand a delay in cancer treatment, and it is, therefore, necessary to consult your provider on time. Some methods are done at particular phases of your menstrual cycle, and your provider will also guide you accordingly.
Fertility Preservation Options
If you are about to have cancer treatment, the following are ways you can preserve your fertility:
This is a procedure involving egg harvesting and fertilizing them. The eggs are then frozen to be implanted later when you are done with your treatment. According to research, the embryos have a survival rate of about 90% through the freezing and thawing process.
This is the process that involves harvesting your fertilized eggs and storing them through freezing. However, note that eggs do not survive freezing as much as the embryos do.
This is where a small lead shield is used to cover your eggs to limit the amount of radiation they get exposed to.
This procedure involves the repositioning of the ovaries in the pelvic area to get them out of the radiation area. However, the ovaries may not always be protected due to scattered radiation, and there is always a need to reposition the ovaries again after the treatment.
When treating early-stage cervical cancer, a significant part of the cervix can be removed. The remaining part of the cervix and the uterus are then preserved.
You can learn more about fertility preservation and discuss your options with your provider at the California Center for Reproductive Health. Reach out to your provider and book an appointment.