"America's Leading Experts in Reproductive Health"
Cancer and Infertility.

 

     
 

 
   
 
   
   
   
 
 
   
   
   
 
   
 
   
 
 
   
 
   
   
 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patient Fact Sheets from the American Society for
Reproductive Medicine.

Cancer and Fertility Preservation


Cancer and Fertility Preservation

Reproductive Health for men and women includes maintaining ones potential reproductive capacity. In the United States there are over 1 million cancer survivors who are of reproductive age. For many, their cancer has been cured with the advances of chemotherapy and or radiation therapy. However, these life saving treatments have destroyed their reproductive capability, leading to complete premature ovarian or testicular failure or compromise functioning. Through the advance of modern technology there are means to preserve fertility, which includes harvesting of eggs with or without fertilization, freezing semen, or freezing ovarian or testicular tissue prior to undergoing life sparing treatment.

Fertility Today magazine is most interested being an educational resource for those facing cancer during their reproductive years. There are many wonderful organizations that are serving as resources for patients anticipating or going through cancer treatment. Please visit our resource page and link directly to a few of these organizations. One such organization, FertileHope is the first of its kind. It is an organization that is dedicated to the issues of fertility in cancer patients.

Fertile Hope for Cancer Survivors
By Lindsay Nohr Beck, Founder and Executive Director of Fertile Hope


As a two-time, tongue cancer survivor by the age of 24, I personally experienced a profound void in the care for young cancer patients & infertility. My treatment regime included radiation, surgery and chemotherapy IV a chemotherapy agent that presented the risk of permanent infertility and premature ovarian failure; however, in 2000 information on my risks and options was not readily available.

After uncovering my risks and desperately searching for a way to preserve my fertility, I finally found a center with an experimental egg freezing protocol for cancer patients, Stanford Medical Center. Two weeks later, I had 29 eggs frozen and stored safely for future use and started my cancer treatments as scheduled.

My experience exposed a problem and I founded Fertile Hope as the solution,bridging the gap between oncology and reproductive endocrinology. Fertile Hope is a national nonprofit organization partnered with the Lance Armstrong Foundation to provide reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.

Approximately 10% of the more than 10 million cancer survivors in the US today were diagnosed in their reproductive years and potentially at risk for permanent sterility from their treatments. Moreover, every year there are more than 120,000 new cancer patients diagnosed while in their reproductive years and also at risk.

Up to 90% of men and women diagnosed with cancer in their reproductive years may be at risk of permanent infertility due to treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, yet the majority of patients are not informed about their fertility risks and fertility preservation options.

While Fertile Hope has made great strides since its inception in 2001, thousands of patients today need access to the information and tools Fertile Hope is providing. These numbers have to change so that survivors have no limits on life after cancer.

Fertile Hope's efforts to improve cancer survivorship have been overwhelming successful. We have developed and distributed thousands of free educational brochures, answered thousands of phone calls and e-mails, and presented at countless symposiums. A few of our resources include:

Brochures

Fertile Hope has a portfolio of several brochures that offer a comprehensive overview of definitions, risks, treatment options, sample questions to ask your medical team, and current research on the safety of pregnancy and children after cancer. Our brochure topics currently include the following, and will be expanding in the coming months:

  • General Cancer & Fertility
  • Breast Cancer & Fertility
  • Childhood Cancer & Fertility: A Guide for Parents Cancer & Fertility: A Guide for Young Adults

Successful parenthood options are available before and after cancer treatments and these brochures are a key tool in empowering patients with the information they need to make educated decisions.

Cancer & Fertility Resource Guide

Thanks to numerous supporters, Fertile Hope developed a Cancer & Fertility Resource Guide as a tool to help oncology healthcare professionals, patients and survivors locate fertility experts, adoption and surrogacy agencies, mental health professionals and other valuable contacts that can help cancer survivors become parents.

Web site:: www.fertilehope.org- Fertile Hope's Web site offers a unique tool that outlines the risks that treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery present to the reproductive system. It also provides an overview of fertility preservation and parenthood options before, during and after cancer treatments, allowing you to compare options by age, time required, average success rates and cost. All of our other resources are also available to download or order for free on our Web site.

Financial Assistance

Fertile Hope recently launched the first national fertility preservation financial assistance program for cancer patients. Through product donations and discounted services, the programs increases access to egg, embryo and sperm freezing for cancer patients. Faced with limited resources in the tight time frame between a cancer diagnosis and its associated treatments, fertility preservation is often an option only for the wealthy.

As we make great strides in the categories of awareness and education, Fertile Hope is also building a model to help advance fertility preservation research and fundraising for a patient-to-patient support programs. Recently married, my husband and I are grateful to have family building options, including my frozen eggs. Accordingly, Fertile Hope is dedicated to creating tools that help young survivors fulfill their parenthood dreams.

For more information, make a donation or to learn how you can participate, please visit www.fertilehope.org or call (888) 994-HOPE.

 







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