Egg freezing for cancer patients removes genetic materials for safekeeping
A cancer diagnosis is devastating news, but it doesn’t have to mean an end to your dreams of starting or growing your family. Egg freezing is one of the most highly recommended fertility preservation options for cancer patients. At USC Fertility, egg freezing for cancer patients is a treatment that is foundational to our highly specialized Fertility Preservation Program.
How does cancer affect fertility?
Cancer’s ability to affect your fertility is twofold: you may suffer effects during treatment itself, or infertility may be a side effect of treatment after your cancer has gone into remission. (accurate?)
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are common treatment options for many types of cancers. These and/or pelvic surgeries can cause damage to eggs, ovarian follicles or hormone-producing glands that are necessary for conception and healthy pregnancies.
In addition to these potential problems, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also contribute to premature menopause, further impacting the fertility of cancer patients and survivors.
What is egg freezing?
Egg freezing is a procedure during which eggs are harvested, medically frozen and securely stored. The eggs can be thawed, fertilized and transferred as embryos after completing cancer treatment. Eggs are frozen, using either a slow-freeze method, or a flash-freezing process known as vitrification. At USC Fertility, we have expertise in both slow-freeze and vitrification methods. Currently, we use vitrification for all egg freezing.
Why egg freezing for cancer patients?
Predicting fertility after cancer treatment is difficult, so it is of the utmost importance to consider fertility preservation options before starting treatment. Egg freezing has been found to be one of the most versatile and effective preservation methods available to cancer patients. Having a cache of healthy eggs available for future in-vitro fertilization can be a hedge against impaired fertility or infertility that may follow cancer treatment.
Are there any egg freezing considerations for cancer patients?
Ideally, egg freezing for cancer patients is performed before chemotherapy, radiation therapy or fertility-impacting surgeries. However, it is important to keep in mind that it can take between two to six weeks to retrieve eggs for freezing. Some cancer patients may not be able to afford to delay treatment.
In addition, if the cancer is estrogen-dependent, fertility treatments should be carefully reviewed, so that circulating estrogen does not feed the cancer and cause it to grow.
Why choose USC Fertility?
USC Fertility is an academic fertility center affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine. We have been helping couples and individuals overcome reproductive and infertility challenges for 30 years, pioneering industry standards in fertility preservation and egg freezing.
If you are concerned about how cancer may impact your ability to conceive or carry to term, contact USC Fertility today. USC Fertility offers state-of-the-art clinical care in a personalized and supportive environment. We commit to helping you access, understand and afford fertility preservation options.