Options to Preserve Fertility In Female Cancer Survivors
For cancer survivors to preserve fertility is the first physiological need these days. And fertility preservation thus is becoming increasingly significant to improve the quality of life in cancer survivors. The ability to have children is called fertility. Best hematologist in India and oncology team of the best cancer hospital in Gurgaon collectively advocate the recommended guidelines suggesting that discussion of fertility preservation should be done prior to starting cancer therapies.
Globally there is a lack of implementation in this area but India is leading with the solution as the oncologist team has session of counselling for patient in lieu of cryopreservation and fertility preservation.
To briefly introduce, with the research and innovations in the are there are number of techniques available for fertility preservation, and they can be used individually or together in the same patient to maximize efficiency.
Adding to this, Oocyte and embryo cryopreservation are now established techniques. The cryopreservations have their limitations but every lock has key. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation is a wider clinical application with the advantage of keeping the fertility window open for a longer time. Both the conventional arms of treatment, chemotherapy and radiotherapy have a major impact on reproductive potential. This is indicative of fertility preservation procedures – that should be carried out prior to these treatments.
Cancer in females of reproductive age accounts for nearly 10% of new cancer diagnoses. Most common cancers presenting in this group of youth affecting female include breast, thyroid, cervical, uterine, melanoma, lymphoma, and colon cancer. Over the past four decades, advances in surgery and adjuvant therapy have led to improved 5-year survival rates for breast (85.5%), endometrial (91%), cervical (83.2%), and ovarian cancers (79.5%). These improved outcomes have resulted in an increased number of cancer survivors but many therapies are harmful to the ovaries and put women at risk of premature ovarian failure and infertility. This is significant as nearly 25% of today’s cancer survivors are reproductive-aged woman who may wish to have children. Embryo cryopreservation is a widely established method for preserving reproductive capacity and due to its high pregnancy rates, it is considered the “gold standard” fertility preservation option. This procedure is offering the best chances of a live birth in the future as well. This solution also works in cases of male, that means the male cancer patient may store his sperm before treatment. Doing this is a way of preserving fertility.
But, in case you have undergone chemotherapy treatment then still no need to worry. After cancer treatment also, the ovarian tissue can be thawed and placed in the pelvis (transplanted). Once the transplanted tissue starts to function again, the eggs can be collected and attempts to fertilize them can be done in the lab. A man may have no sperm in his semen after cancer treatment. But he may still have healthy sperm in his testicles. During a testicular sperm extraction, the doctor removes small pieces of testicular tissue. Any healthy sperm cells found in this tissue can be used to make a baby.
The need for fertility preservation has not yet weighed against morbidity and mortality associated with cancer. Thus, a multidisciplinary collaboration between oncologists and reproductive specialists to improve awareness and availability is a necessity.