FERTILITY AND CANCER

We could talk about many approaches related to fertility and cancer, and we want to write about all of them, in this post we are going to write from the point of view of someone who has suffered cancer and wants to be a father or mother and does not know how it will affect this disease to your fertility. If you are interested, in another post, we will write what happens when we are pregnant and discover that we have cancer.

Cancer, or more often cancer treatments, can interfere with some part of the process and affect the ability to have children.

Oncological treatments can have different effects and consequences depending on the age of the patient, the type of cancer and the therapy received among other factors, for example, chemotherapy can drastically reduce the number of sperm and ovules.

Some factors that should be considered when trying to preserve fertility are:

If cancer has spread, or if you have a high risk of cancer in these organs in the future
If it is risky to delay the start of cancer treatment (some options to preserve fertility may take a long time and when the cancer is rapidly growing, treatment should be started immediately)
The chances of success (most fertility procedures are less successful in women over 40 years of age)
Most people who have suffered cancer can still choose to become parents if they wish. It probably does not happen the way you planned before cancer, but with flexibility, you realize you have options.

Thanks to advances in medicine, cancer patients can preserve fertility in order to be mothers and fathers in the future:

The storage of semen is the best-established method for the preservation of fertility in men. It consists of a fairly easy and effective way for men to store sperm for future use. Men who want to have children in the future are usually offered before cancer treatment.

A frequent and simple option is the vitrification of oocytes or embryos. In freezing ovocitaría what we keep is the gamete of women to fertilize in the future. On the contrary, if what we vitrify is an embryo, these belong to a couple and will be transferred once the patient has healed. In case patients are pediatric, oocyte/embryo vitrification is not a possible option.

On the other hand, sometimes, you have to initiate oncology therapy immediately and you can not delay the time necessary to perform an ovarian stimulation. In these cases, ovarian tissue could be obtained and cryopreserved in order to reimplant it in the future. Another option would be to operate the ovary to replace it so that it does not receive radiotherapy. Sometimes by the hormonal treatment, we could leave the ovary in a dormant state.

 

These options include the possible freezing of ova, embryos, or ovarian fragments, treatment of infertility after cancer, adoption, or use of an ovum or embryo donated to have a baby (sometimes with the help of another woman to carry it to term). the pregnancy).

As a conclusion and although each case is unique, it can be said that “after cancer, it is possible to maintain fertility and become parents”.

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