Preserving Your Fertility During Cancer Treatment

Preparing for cancer treatment is overwhelming enough and having to consider your future fertility should be the least of your worries. For patients concerned about their fertility after chemo, surgery, or radiation, options do exist to give you the best chance at growing your family once treatment has finished. Working with your oncologist, the team at Reproductive Health Center is here to help you navigate the best course of action to ensure your health is prioritized.

Fertility Preservation at Reproductive Health Center

When you choose to preserve your fertility with us, there are a few options you can consider. If you are a female wishing to cryopreserve your gametes, you can opt to either freeze eggs or fertilize the eggs and freeze them as embryos.

Egg freezing is a procedure in which eggs are retrieved from a female’s ovaries, then medically frozen via vitrification and then securely stored. This option is a versatile and effective method to preserve one’s eggs during cancer treatment. After your initial consult with Dr. Hutchison, our team will expedite your case, helping to prepare you and your body for egg retrieval. This process is the same for an IVF retrieval: you will take medications to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs at once which will then be retrieved in a short surgical procedure. The eggs will then be sent to our lab for cryopreservation and storage.

For some patients, you may want to consider freezing your embryos. Similar to the process of egg freezing, embryo freezing involves the additional process of fertilizing the eggs using either your partner’s or donor sperm to create embryos. Prior to freezing, the embryos will grow in the lab for 5 to 6 days before being stored until you are ready to start or add to your family. Freezing embryos gives you more information and assurance that what you have in storage has greater potential for making a baby.

In either case, it is important to note that the retrieval process can take anywhere from two to six weeks. Because of this, it is crucial to discuss your options with your doctor and find out if delaying your cancer treatment is possible.

For males concerned about the impact cancer may have on your fertility, you do have the option to pursue sperm freezing. This process is simple and offers you the same level of protection. Our partner, Arizona Andrology, can help you learn more and get you started on the sperm freezing process as soon as possible.

Your Options after Cancer Treatment

When you are ready to build your family after cancer treatment, your frozen eggs or embryos can be used in IVF treatment here at Reproductive Health Center.

After being cleared to pursue treatment from your care team, schedule an appointment with us in our Tucson, Arizona clinic. We will walk you through what comes next in preparing for treatment, medications you will take, as well as the IVF process in general. If you’ve stored your eggs with us, this process will include fertilization using your partner’s or donor sperm after thawing.

Financial Considerations for Oncofertility Patients

As with any healthcare treatment, there are financial aspects to consider when it comes to preserving your fertility after cancer treatment. Thankfully, we’ve partnered with the LiveStrong Foundation to provide qualified patients with financial support. This support has covered medications, storage fees, and, sometimes, a portion of the treatment fees to help alleviate the burden of the cost of fertility preservation. To qualify, you must complete an application on the LiveStrong website.

Make an Appointment Today

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer, we are here for you. We know the journey is overwhelming, but we can do what we can to alleviate as many concerns as we can. At the end of the day, our main priority is ensuring your health and that your cancer treatment is successful. In some cases, that may mean stalling fertility treatment or considering other options when it comes time to grow your family.

To learn what options are best for you before and after your cancer treatment, call us at (520) 733-0083 or schedule your new patient visit at our Tucson clinic here.