Cancer is common. The American Cancer Society reports that more than 692,000 women and 745,180 men were diagnosed with cancer in 2008. For girls and women under the age of 40, the risk of developing invasive cancer is 1 in 49. Fortunately survival rates are improving. There has been a 32% increase in cancer survival rates for all cancers diagnosed between 1996 and 2003. Advances in cancer treatment are allowing more patients to survive their cancer and lead a longer, more prosperous life.
Unfortunately, effective cancer treatment is associated with an increased risk of infertility. Just as cancer survivors are living longer, many find themselves unable to build a family due to the cancer treatment itself. Preservation of future fertility is one of the greatest determinants of quality of life in those who survive cancer. The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine therefore recommend that options for fertility preservation be discussed as early as possible during cancer treatment planning.
The risk of infertility after cancer treatment depends on many factors including age, type of cancer, type of treatment, and underlying fertility potential. Treatments such as high dose radiation to the abdomen and pelvis, and chemotherapy with alkylating agents such as cyclophosphamide and procarbazine are associated with a high risk of amenorrhea, premature ovarian failure, or early menopause. Non-alkylating chemotherapy poses less of a risk.
The Fertility Preservation Program at Seattle Reproductive Medicine staff understand that fertility preservation is but one of the cancer patients concerns and our efforts are directed at supporting, educating, reassuring and providing the latest in fertility treatment.
SRM offers the following services for fertility preservation:
- IVF and embryo freezing
- egg freezing
- sperm freezing
- testicular tissue aspiration and freezing
- donor egg treatment
- donor sperm treatment
- gestational host treatment
- hormonal replacement
- Ovarian tissue freezing
Seattle Reproductive Medicine is a proud member of Fertile Hope's Sharing Hope network. As a participating center in the Sharing Hope financial assistance program, Seattle Reproductive Medicine works with Fertile Hope to increase access to fertility preservation services for cancer patients. To apply or for more information, please visit fertilehope.org/financial-assistance.Learn more