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Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Aug;20(4):408-15. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e328307ebad.

Chemotherapy and amenorrhea: risks and treatment options.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York, USA.



The purpose of this study is to review the impact of chemotherapy on fertility and to update the reader on the current state of fertility preservation techniques.


Chemotherapy results in irreversible damage to ovarian follicles and stromal function, and alkylating agents cause the most significant damage to ovarian reserve. Options for fertility preservation range from well established techniques such as embryo cryopreservation to experimental ones such as ovarian tissue freezing. The safety and effectiveness of concomitant use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues to prevent chemotherapy-induced follicle death is still debated. In-vitro maturation of germinal vesicle oocytes can be an option in patients who do not have sufficient time for ovarian stimulation.


The impact of chemotherapy on future fertility is much more significant than is widely believed. Because of this, young females should be counseled about fertility preservation options. Fertility preservation requires an individualized approach. If possible these patients should be encouraged to utilize the most established assisted reproductive techniques. Although success of IVF with frozen-thawed embryos now approaches that of using fresh embryos, success rates with oocyte freezing are lower but these rates are on the rise. Even though ovarian tissue cryopreservation is still an experimental technique, currently it is the only fertility preservation option in children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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