Quality of life of young cancer survivors has become a major issue. However, anticancer therapies can have a detrimental impact on fertility. It is now well-established that all patients should receive information about the fertility risks associated with their cancer treatment and the fertility preservation options available. Currently, oocyte or embryo banking after controlled ovarian hyperstimulation represents the most effective method for preserving female fertility.
Undergoing breast cancer therapy treatments can negatively affect a woman’s future ability to have children. The different types and doses of certain chemotherapy drugs have been known to dramatically and immediately reduce the egg supply in women.
Chemotherapy can hasten premature menopause in some young women. This can happen instantly or a few years after a woman is finished with treatment. Some breast cancer therapy drugs, such as Tamoxifen, must be taken for up to 5 years. If a woman is already in her thirties, she is especially more vulnerable to time as her window to achieve pregnancy is cut short.
Thanks to the progress in oncostatic treatments, young women affected by cancer have a fairly good chance of surviving the disease and leading a normal post-cancer life. Quite often, however, polychemiotherapy and/or radiotherapy can induce ovarian damage and significantly reduce the content of follicles and oocytes inside the ovary, thus predisposing the patient to menstrual disorders, infertility, and precocious menopause. Several techniques have been proposed to preserve fertility in these patients; among them oocyte collection and cryopreservation prior to the oncostatic treatment has been widely applied in the last decade. The proper indications, the permitting conditions, the available hormonal stimulation protocols, as well as the effectiveness and limits of this option will be discussed herein, with a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the two techniques commonly used to cryostore oocytes, the slow-freezing technique and the vitrification technique.
Obstetrics and Gynaecology International
Sperm cryopreservation at BCF
Sperm storage or sperm cryopreservation is a term used to define the rapidly growing use of male fertility preservation. Sperm is collected, typically through masturbation, and frozen in straws then stored in liquid nitrogen-filled tanks. This has proven to be an extremely effective means of preserving sperm, and when combined with the appropriate storage protocols,
Who Uses Sperm Freezing?
- Cancer Patients
- Pre-Vasectomy Patients
- Military Personnel, Police Officers, Firefighters
- High Impact Athletes
- Transgender Clients
- Advancing Paternal Age
By far the largest group of sperm storage users are male cancer patients. Due to the high cure rates for many types of cancer, oncology professionals are more frequently directing patients to male fertility preservation options prior to cancer treatments that could leave them infertile.
How does cancer treatment affect fertility?
Certain cancer treatments can harm your fertility or cause sterility. The effects, which might be temporary or permanent, can occur immediately or at some point after treatment. The likelihood that cancer treatment will harm your fertility depends on several factors, including the type of cancer, cancer treatment and your age at the time of treatment.
Male fertility can be harmed by the surgical removal of the testicles or by chemotherapy or radiation that damages sperm quantity, quality or DNA.
Female fertility can be compromised by cancer treatments that involve the surgical removal of the uterus or ovaries. Cancer treatment can also affect eggs, hormone levels, or the functioning of the ovaries, uterus or cervix. The risk of developing premature menopause after certain cancer treatments increases as you age. Older women are also more susceptible to permanent ovarian damage.
The effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy also depend on the drug or size and location of the radiation field. The most severe damage is caused when radiation is applied to the ovaries or testicles and by chemotherapy drugs called alkylating agents.