Survival rates among young cancer patients have steadily increased over the past two decades in part because of the development of more effective cancer treatments. Today, both women and men can look forward to life after cancer, yet many may face fertility issues as a result of the disease itself or these lifesaving treatments(chemotherapy or radiotherapy).
Fertility options for Men
Established fertility preservation options for men include
A) sperm freezing (cryopreservation), in which a semen sample is collected, frozen, and stored for future use or
B) testicular sperm extraction, during which sperms are aspirated from the testes through a short surgical procedure and frozen or
C) testicular tissue freezing where tissue is checked for sperms and frozen for later use.
Fertility options for Women
Options for women to have children after cancer have evolved significantly in recent years. Women should be counselled for established techniques such as A) embryo freezing in which hormonal stimulation causes production of multiple eggs, which are removed & fertilized by sperm, embryos are then frozen for future use or B) oocyte freezing where oocytes are directly frozen for future use or C) ovarian tissue freezing, which is not established procedure, It is recommended for prepubertal girls.
Fertility options for Couples
Embryo cryopreservation is an established technique that has been proven to be the most effective one. This process is basically for couples who wish to delay pregnancy e.g.if anyone of them undergoing chemotherapy/radiation treatment or for social reasons in some cases.
Embryo freezing has shown the best results so far amongst all above techniques. They can be frozen for years. Before going ahead with fertility preservation in cancer cases, multiple things need to be taken into consideration which involves teamwork by oncologists, hematologists, fertility specialists, oncosurgeon. It definitely gives solution for those who wish to preserve their dream to parenthood !!!