Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center fertility specialist Joanne Frankel Kelvin discusses the impact that cancer treatment can have on a woman’s fertility, and how patients can plan a family after treatment.
Treatments for cancer can affect fertility in a number of ways. They may destroy eggs, alter hormone levels that regulate menstruation and ovulation, or remove or damage reproductive structures.
Options to preserve fertility before treatment include:
- Embryo cryopreservation (freezing of embryos obtained by ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, and in vitro fertilization)
- Oocyte cryopreservation (freezing of unfertilized eggs obtained by ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval)
- Ovarian tissue cryopreservation (freezing of ovarian tissue obtained under anesthesia; investigational only; for prepubertal girls or females who cannot delay treatment for ovarian stimulation)
- Ovarian transposition (surgical placement of the ovaries out of the field of treatment before radiation to the pelvis)
- Ovarian suppression (use of medication to suppress ovarian function, potentially protecting eggs from effects of chemotherapy; data on effectiveness is conflicting so this is considered investigational)
The resources below can provide you with additional information on fertility preservation and family building options.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Resources
External Resources Specific to Cancer and Fertility
External Resources on All Aspects of Fertility and Family Building
Search within each site for specific topics.
External Resources Specific to Cancer and Fertility for Teens and Parents of Children
Finding a Reproductive Endocrinologist