Treating Cancer-Related Infertility
There are a variety of fertility-preserving options or infertility treatments available to women who are experiencing infertility caused by cancer treatment, such as:
- embryo cryopreservation: freezing embryos (fertilized eggs) is one fertility-preserving option available to women of reproductive age. The process of embryo cryopreservation includes the retrieval of eggs using an ultrasound. The eggs are then combined with the male partner’s sperm, which is retrieved either through microsurgery or through the provision of a semen analysis. The eggs and sperm are then fertilized together in the laboratory and cryogenically frozen until they are ready to be implanted in the women’s uterus following cancer treatment.
- oral contraception: research has shown that women who take birth control pills while undergoing chemotherapy can help to conserve eggs produced following their cancer treatment, making oral contraception an alternative way in which to protect one’s future chances of getting pregnant after cancer.
- gonadotrophin-releasing hormones (GnRH) analog treatment: this experimental method involves combining GnRHs with chemotherapy in an attempt to reduce the negative effects of chemotherapy treatment on a woman’s reproductive organs.
- ovarian-tissue preservation: this experimental method of fertility preservation involves surgery so as to remove, preserve and re-implant ovarian tissue.
- oocyte cryopreservation: this method of fertility preservation attempts to retrieve, freeze and store unfertilized eggs for future usage. However, this method of fertility preservation is still in its experimental stages and has as of yet not yielded any promising results.
- abdominal radical trachelectomy (ART): a type of conservative fertility-preserving surgery for women with cervical cancer. Studies have shown some promising preliminary results in which conception and full-term pregnancy were achieved; labor was also delivered successfully via cesarean section.