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Med J Aust. 2006 Nov 20;185(10):538-41.

Fertility preservation in children newly diagnosed with cancer: existing standards of practice in Australia and New Zealand.

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  • 1Children's Cancer Centre, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.



To establish the extent to which sperm, oocyte and gonadal tissue collection and storage is offered to children newly diagnosed with cancer.


A cross-sectional survey of all paediatric oncology services in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) in December 2005.


Sperm, oocyte and gonadal tissue collection and storage practices at paediatric oncology services; comparisons with recently published North American practices and with current recommendations for best practice.


12 of the 13 centres (92%) completed the survey. All centres offered sperm preservation, but only 10 (83%) offered oocyte/ovarian tissue preservation. Two centres were using gonadotrophin-releasing hormone analogues for fertility protection in postpubertal females. Five (42%) had offered fertility preservation to patients before the completion of their sexual development. All centres were more likely to offer sperm preservation than oocyte preservation for any given disease. The most common diseases for which conservation was offered were lymphomas and sarcomas. The anticipated cumulative dose at which centres elected to offer fertility preservation varied widely, both for the alkylator cyclophosphamide (any to 10 g/m(2)) and for abdominal/pelvic irradiation (any to 12 Gy) and spinal irradiation (any to 18 Gy). Fertility counselling was offered in a variety of settings by nine (75%) of the centres. Despite 11 centres (92%) agreeing that fertility preservation guidelines would be helpful, only two (17%) had guidelines in place.


There are inconsistencies in the indications for and methods of gamete conservation in paediatric oncology centres throughout ANZ. Variations in practice on a background of unresolved medical, legal and ethical issues suggest the development of guidelines would be helpful.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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