The Game Changing Science to Preserve Fertility

Cancer and cancer treatment take a major toll on a patient’s health, including their fertility. Luckily, fertility preservation techniques are ever-evolving, and there are lots of options for people with cancer to reduce the risk of infertility.
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When we say chemotherapy, that actually means any drug used to treat any kind of illness, but in the context of cancer treatment, these are drugs that are targeted to eradicate cancer cells. And these drugs may not only affect active eggs but can also degrade the backup pool that’s stored in the ovaries for future ovulation.

Radiation in the pelvic area can also directly harm your eggs. And any destruction of hormone-regulating parts of the body, like the ovaries, can trigger some pretty drastic changes, including the onset of menopause-like symptoms before age 40.

For male reproductive equipment—chemotherapy can damage sperm and sperm-generating parts of the body, so before treatment, he needed to consult a fertility specialist. For those with testes, that means deciding whether you want to collect and store a sperm sample.

#bodylanguage #wellness #seeker #fertility #cancer #health

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The term “fertility” is used to describe the ability to conceive a child naturally. Some cancer treatments affect fertility in males and females. The risk of infertility from cancer treatment is based on several factors, including the patient’s age and the type and dosage of treatment received.

Preserving Fertility in Adolescent and Young Adult Women with Cancer
But there’s still a lot of work to be done in oncofertility, a term coined in 2006 to bring the fields of oncology and fertility medicine together to help children, adolescents and young adults who have cancer. That same year, the American Society of Clinical Oncology issued guidelines urging oncologists to discuss the possibility of infertility as a cancer treatment side effect and to refer patients to fertility specialists when needed. Three years later, a national survey found that fewer than 50% of people with childhood and gynecologic cancers were aware of these infertility risks.

Ovarian transplant technique extends fertility in cancer patients
With this method, ovarian tissue is removed from the patient, frozen until their cancer treatment is complete and then retransplanted, providing a new “window” of fertility and a chance at conception. The procedure, known as ACOTT (autologous cryopreserved ovarian tissue transplantation), has continued to evolve.

Editor’s Note: At Seeker, we recognize that people of many genders and identities have vaginas and uteruses, and are affected by the topics covered in Body Language: not only women. Where gendered language does appear is in reference to specific language used within the scientific studies cited.

Body Language is Seeker’s latest series diving into the world of female health. For so long, the medical field only used male bodies to conduct research, creating a gap in terms of what we currently know about female bodies. In this series, we’ll be talking to experts to get a better understanding of some of these issues, and we discover how incredibly cool the female body is and how much more we still have to learn about it.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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Thanks to Maren Hunsberger for hosting this episode of Body Language.
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