How cancer survivors can preserve fertility

New York: Many young female cancer survivors are not adequately aware of information about how to preserve their fertility after completing treatment as they are at high risk of early menopause, finds a study.

The results showed that about 43-62 percent reported unmet information needs and two-thirds of women were worried about their ability to have future children.

Females wishing to have children, but not yet ready to start a family, may be able to undergo fertility preservation with egg or embryo freezing after treatment, as they are at high risk of early menopause because of their cancer treatment, according to the researchers.

“Failure to provide information and address concerns with respect to fertility-related decisions may have lasting consequences for young women who hope to achieve important life goals such as having children,” said lead author Catherine Benedict from Northwell Health, New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer.

“For women are at risk of early menopause, delaying fertility-related decisions may cause them to miss their narrowed window of opportunity to preserve their fertility, if desired,” Benedict added in the paper published in the journal Cancer.

The team wanted to understand young adult female cancer survivors’ informational needs, their concerns about fertility and how they view the decision to undergo fertility preservation after treatment.

They examined 346 participants with the average age of 30 years and also focused on a subgroup of 179 women with uncertain fertility status who had not previously undergone fertility preservation.

The results indicated that having unmet information needs and greater reproductive concerns made it more difficult for women to think about the decision to undergo fertility preservation in the future.

These findings establish the need for support services to help young female cancer survivors make decisions about fertility preservation and family-building as part of survivorship care.

The study supports the need of women making fertility decisions before their treatment begins.