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J Am Coll Surg. 2009 Nov;209(5):603-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2009.08.006.

Timing of breast cancer treatments with oocyte retrieval and embryo cryopreservation.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.



Protecting future childbearing motivates young women with breast cancer to seek oocyte or embryo cryopreservation. Concerns about delays in cancer treatment may influence patients and practitioners considering these procedures. In this study, we compared timing of chemotherapy in women who underwent ovarian stimulation/oocyte retrieval (OR) and embryo cryopreservation with those who did not.


Eighty-two women younger than 40 years of age, who received adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, were retrospectively identified. Nineteen underwent OR and 63 did not (CON). The timing of OR, surgery, and chemotherapy were compared with the time intervals between diagnosis and treatments in the CON group.


The mean ages of women were 33.7 years (OR group) and 35.2 years (CON group); 84.2% of OR and 25.4% of CON were nulliparous. The median time from initial diagnosis to reproductive endocrinology consultation was 30.1 days (range 4 to 133 days) and from referral to OR was 32 days (range 13 to 66 days). The median times from initial diagnosis to chemotherapy in OR versus CON groups were 71 days (range 45 to 161 days) and 67 days (range 27 to 144 days), respectively, p < 0.27. The median time interval from definitive operation to chemotherapy was similar in the two groups: 30 days (OR; range 14 to 100 days) and 29 days (CON; range 12 to 120 days), p < 0.79.


Fertility preservation is an important component of quality of life for young women with breast cancer. The time investment required for OR and cryopreservation is manageable and does not significantly prolong the time interval from diagnosis to start of adjuvant chemotherapy.

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