5 Techniques for Preserving Fertility in Women with Cancer

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“Health is not valued until sickness comes”– Thomas Fuller. Sickness could be of many types, but one thing is common amongst all of them, and that is distress!

But as with the nature of your illness, your distress levels could also vary greatly. Cancer is certainly one of the many illnesses that bring a huge amount of distress, destruction, debilitation and of course devastation in its onslaught.

"preserving fertility in cancer for women"

Cancer is a Double Edged Sword

Majority of the patients afflicted with cancer say that it is a double edged sword. The damage caused by the cancer itself is tough to handle and to top it and make matters more worse are the deleterious side effects wrecked on the body by the chemotherapy and radiation therapy used to treat cancer.

Cancer Affects More Than Your Health

It is not just your health that gets affected by cancer. There are so many aspects of your social, personal and professional life that cancer can leave a dent in. But in my opinion, the worst impact of cancer is when it affects your ability to procreate. Treatment procedures used to tackle cancer can permanently destroy your fertility and ability to have a child of your own.

Women especially are quite affected by this outcome. Updated cancer treatments have thankfully contributed a lot in improving the survival rates and extending the life expectancy of the patients. Many patients often enjoy partial or in some fortunate cases, complete remission from the deadly disease.

 But if proper and adequate measures are not taken in time, the damage to your fertility can take away all hopes of having a baby of your own. Even a complete remission cannot bring back your innate ability to conceive that you may have lost during the treatment of your disease.

5 Techniques for Preserving Fertility in Women with Cancer

Luckily, the recent developments in technology and health care have contributed many techniques to preserve fertility in women. Some of the important ones are listed below:

1) Vitrification of oocytes

In this method, only the mature eggs that are obtained following ovarian stimulation are cryopreserved. These eggs will be used at a later date, when the woman is either in better health or is considered fit to endure pregnancy and childbirth.

2) Freezing of ovarian cortex

This method uses the ovarian cortex for cryopreservation and is more suitable when the woman has no time to wait for ovarian stimulation as in the previous method, or in cases where ovarian stimulation could potentially be harmful.

3) Ovarian Transposition

In this method the ovaries are surgically shifted to a safer location like the paracolic gutters or behind the uterus, before the woman administered radiotherapy. This method is not entirely free of complications and many a times, the chances of preserving normal ovarian function are 83 % – 88 %.

4) Treatment with GnRH agonists

This method is still undergoing extensive research before it can be guaranteed to work smoothly in preserving ovarian function.

5) Third party reproduction

Here the woman has opportunities to choose alternatives to having biological children. The method she may adopt is implanting of the embryo in her uterus, which is created with the help of donor eggs and sperm in IVF.

Summary

Based on the observations and judgment in every case, the oncologist treating the woman for cancer may decide to opt for chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of both the previously mentioned methods.

Each of these methods of treatments has different outcomes and side effects on the overall health and of course, the fertility of the patient in consideration.

Depending upon the methods that are going to be used as part of the treatment, the oncologist may suggest or counsel the women patients regarding the most suitable method of fertility preservation applicable to their case.

 

Author: MuslimHuda

I am a medical consultant, professional blogger and an online entrepreneur. I love to share my knowledge with my readers and in the proces if it could help even one person, I would consider it to be my good fortune.

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