Fertility preservation solutions in Austin for adolescents and young adults
Advances in cancer treatments are now enabling people to live long, fulfilling lives long after receiving their diagnosis. Gamete (sperm/egg/embryo) cryopreservation using the latest vitrification (freezing) techniques significantly improves our ability to safeguard patients’ reproductive health, effectively freezing oocytes, sperm, and embryos for later use. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to discuss oncofertility options as a part of the initial treatment consultation.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommend referring at-risk patients to a fertility specialist before the onset of treatment.
A conversation about fertility preservation should ideally take place prior to the initiation of cancer treatment, however, in some cases, gametes (sperm and eggs) can be successfully retrieved even after treatment begins. Informing the patient of his or her risk level (high, moderate or low) and available fertility preservation options can help restore feelings of control and provide the widest array of options.
Male young adults
Our physicians feel that adolescent males should be physically and mentally prepared for semen collection. Prepubertal boys, who are not mature enough to masturbate, may be physiologically able to ejaculate but not emotionally ready. Furthermore, depending on the Tanner stage of development, there may not be harvestable sperm present. Although microsurgical sperm harvesting techniques are available, they are not typically appropriate for these patients.
Female young adults
Fertility preservation for female young adults depends on the treatment risk for infertility, the timing of therapy, and pubertal status. While some options may exist for fertility preservation in pre-pubertal females such as radiation shielding and ovarian transposition (surgery to protect ovarian function), oocyte cryopreservation is not possible. Post-pubertal females are able to undergo fertility preservation, which consist of ovarian stimulation, oocyte retrieval and cryopreservation. Ovarian tissue banking is considered to be experimental and there are only limited data to support its use in fertility preservation.
Survivors of childhood or adolescent cancers may also have post treatment options to preserve fertility.
Discussing Medical Fertility Preservation for Oncofertility With Dr. Amy Schutt