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J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2017 Sep;6(3):444-449. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2017.0016. Epub 2017 May 1.

Practices and Attitudes Regarding Women Undergoing Fertility Preservation: A Survey of the National Physicians Cooperative.

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1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital , Boston, Massachusetts.
2 Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine , Chicago, Illinois.
3 Division of Reproductive Science in Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine , Chicago, Illinois.



To describe physician attitudes and variations in oncofertility treatment strategies.


An exploratory online survey administered between December 1, 2014 and January 27, 2015 to 185 members of the National Physicians Cooperative (NPC).


Twenty-eight percent (52 of 185) of NPC members responded to the online survey. Fifty percent of respondents were obstetrician-gynecologists working largely in academic medical centers. Thirty-eight percent stated that 14 was the youngest age they felt comfortable performing oocyte retrievals with 35% stating that any age was acceptable as long as they were postpubertal. Short stimulation protocols, utilizing a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist (86%), were more common than long stimulation or microdose Lupron flare protocols (23% and 18%), respectively, which utilize a GnRH agonist. Random start protocols were used by 77% and over 90% perform luteal phase starts. When using random start protocols, 64% use gonadotropins only and 32% start GnRH antagonists alone for several days before starting gonadotropins. Fifty-five percent of physicians were comfortable stimulating ovarian cancer patients only after clearance from an oncologist. Aromatase inhibitors (77%) were significantly more common than tamoxifen (24%) for stimulation in breast cancer patients (p = 0.0006). When considering ovarian stimulation after chemotherapy, 24% expressed comfort only if blood counts are normal, 38% tend to wait 3 months. Regarding experimental treatment, 83% report discussing the use of GnRH agonists alone and 64% of clinics offer ovarian tissue cryopreservation.


This study underlines the wide variation that exists in stimulation and phase start techniques, patient selection, comfort levels, and cancer type-specific decision making.


National Physicians Cooperative; cancer; fertility preservation; oncofertility

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