4. What are the fertility treatment options for cancer patients?
There are several ways to have a child after cancer treatment, including fertility treatment options such as:
Cryopreservation – Cryopreservation, done in conjunction with assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), involves freezing sperm, eggs, and embryos for future use. This method is a safe and effective way for individuals to preserve their ability to have children after cancer treatments.
Sperm Cryopreservation – Sperm cryopreservation is a non-invasive, effective option for men who want to preserve their fertility. Men who have cryopreserved sperm and used intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) have a greater possibility of fathering a child in the future.
Embryo Cryopreservation – Embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) are frozen and stored for later use. This method should be used prior to cancer treatment, and the sperm used to create the embryo must come from a willing partner or donor. The egg that was retrieved, fertilized, and cryoprotected will be thawed and used when the woman has completed cancer treatment and is ready to carry a baby.
Egg (Oocyte) Cryopreservation – Female patients who do not have a partner, do not want to use donor sperm, or are ethically or religiously opposed to embryo cryopreservation may benefit from egg freezing. Although eggs are susceptible to the physical and chemical damage caused by cryopreservation, as research advances, it is becoming a more viable option.