In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Banking
Embryo banking is the most established form of fertility preservation and is an excellent option for women who have a male partner or are interested in using donor sperm. For breast cancer patients, there are specific ovarian stimulation protocols that may be considered to reduce exposure to estrogen. Embryos are frozen for future use and result in excellent pregnancy rate.
In recent years, significant advances in freezing eggs for future use have occurred. Data suggests that the use of frozen/thawed eggs may have similar success as fresh eggs.
Ovarian Tissue Banking
One ovary is removed through a minor surgical procedure called laparoscopy. The portion of ovary containing eggs is frozen for later use. This option is still experimental but may be the best option for pre-pubertal girls or a woman who must start their cancer treatments immediately.
Freezing (cryopreservation) of sperm is the most successful way for men to preserve fertility before cancer treatment. The sperm remain frozen, or “banked”, until you need them. Freezing for many years does not damage the sperm. Even if there is no sperm in the semen, procedures such as testicular sperm extraction can be performed to obtain testicular tissue that may contain sperm.
Fertility Sparing Surgery
For patients who will receive abdominal or pelvic radiation, it may be possible to move the ovaries surgically out of the field of radiation. For patients with early stage gynecologic cancers, it may be possible to conserve reproductive organs at cancer surgery.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, ovarian suppression, ovarian shielding, psychological support and financial counseling are among other options discussed at a fertility preservation consultation