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Cancer Treat Res. 2007;138:15-27.

Fertility management for women with cancer.

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  • 1University of California, San Diego, USA.


With time, great strides are being made in the care of cancer sufferers. The longevity and quality of life of these unfortunate individuals continues to improve and the word "cure" is more commonly being heard. In a similar manner, there is also much reason for optimism regarding the future fertility options for patients with cancer as well as for those with other diseases that have a high likelihood of rendering a female infertile prior to completing her family. Figure 2.4 outlines the various cryopreservation technologies currently available. While IVF and embryo freezing remain the gold standard at the present, refinements in in vitro maturation of oocytes and cryopreservation of oocytes and ovarian cortex will lead to improved results and availability of these technologies. Counseling patients of child-bearing age or their parents regarding future fertility when faced with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis is difficult but extremely important. With modern approaches to cancer care, survival rates have improved significantly. Therefore, the health care team has a responsibility to provide screening to identify these patients, provide education so that an informed decision can be made as rapidly as possible, and have a team ready to preserve fertility once a decision has been made. With the improvements in fertility outcomes for these patients, appropriate education of key communities, including cancer sufferers and their health care providers, will be necessary to ensure that the issue of fertility after cancer is at least discussed and offered to those in whom it is appropriate.

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