What fertility preservation options do I have before starting cancer treatment?
Recently, fertility specialists and scientists in the UK achieved another milestone. They reported the first successful birth of a healthy baby from the transplanted ovarian tissue in a cancer survivor.
The woman had a part of her ovary frozen before starting her cancer treatment. Following successful completion of the treatment, the frozen ovarian tissue was transplanted back. There are forty such reported births around the world, and this is the first in the UK.
In June, at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting in Helsinki, Oxford scientists reported obtaining ovarian tissue from a two-year-old child who was diagnosed with cancer and freezing the tissue. They also reported collecting immature eggs. The eggs were then taken through the maturation process and frozen. This was not only part of a research project, it was a significant development in improvising fertility preservation methods for cancer patients.
Scientists have been working on this for many years, and there are still challenges to overcome. Fertility preservation is one of the few ways that cancer survivors can be a biological parent upon successful completion of the cancer treatment.
Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy can affect fertility in the long term. However, not every cancer patient who hasn’t completed their family is offered an opportunity to discuss fertility preservation.
Having read this report, I thought of sharing the different aspects of fertility preservation for female cancer patients. At London IVF and Genetics Centre, we are committed to simplifying complex fertility science and helping our patients make informed decisions.