Fertility Blog

Oncofertility: Why You Should Speak to Your Oncologist About Fertility Preservation

It’s easy to overlook the connection between cancer (or cancer treatment) and fertility. On the one hand, a cancer diagnosis usually comes with a heavy emotional toll for both the patient and his or her family, and it can put your dreams of having a baby on hold. Additionally, your cancer might not appear to directly affect your or your partner’s reproductive system if it’s in a different area of the body.

It’s therefore quite usual for cancer patients to launch into cancer treatment without regard for their fertility. However, if you want to start a family someday, it’s crucial you speak with your oncologist about your family planning goals before you begin cancer remediation.

What is oncofertility?
With the increase in infertility awareness and services, there has evolved a new field of medicine dedicated to minimizing the negative effects of cancer treatment on fertility: oncofertility. The American Cancer Society provides a list of oncology drugs, therapies and surgeries that can harm a woman’s fertility, and the list is exhaustive. With the staggering number of threats that stand to compromise fertility or cause birth defects, it’s no wonder this field of medicine has become indispensable to fertility specialists whose mission is to help women and men conceive and give birth to healthy babies.

What are your oncofertility options?
Because treating your cancer is just as if not more critical to your future as is your fertility, it’s imperative that you begin your cancer treatment as advised by your oncologist. However, you do have options when it comes to preserving your chances of having a baby. Fertility preservation is a means of saving some of the physical elements of reproduction that might be harmed by cancer treatment.

Washington Fertility Center offers egg freezing (aka oocyte vitrification, egg banking and egg cryopreservation), sperm banking/cryopreservation, reproductive tissue preservation and IVF embryo cryopreservation. If your oncologist or oncofertility specialist indicates that your cancer treatment might damage your reproductive function, you can look forward to starting a family via assisted reproduction, if you take the necessary steps to preserve your fertility before your cancer treatment begins.

When should you have the fertility preservation conversation with your doctor?
As soon as your cancer diagnosis settles in, you and your doctor will discuss your treatment options. This is the time for you to report any concerns you have about treatment, and that includes your concern that your fertility might become impaired. Speak up right away; don’t wait.

When you’ve informed your oncologist that you want to consider fertility preservation, contact Washington Fertility Center immediately at 866-WFC-BABY. We understand that timing is crucial when it comes to preserving your fertility, and we’re ready to assist, with compassion, as you strive to beat your cancer and build your dream family.