Fertility Preservation for Post-Cancer Pregnancy & Family Building
Fertility preservation, a relatively new sub-specialty in the field of Reproductive Endocrinology (RE) and Infertility, enables physicians like Dr. Mark Rispler to collect and preserve sperm, eggs (oocytes), fertilized eggs (embryos) prior to cancer treatment. Dr. Rispler specializes in fertility preservation in women of reproductive age so that cancer doesn’t rob them of the opportunity to become mothers.
Chemotherapy and radiation, often essential to a successful outcome in cancer treatment, can render a woman infertile by destroying her uterus, eggs or ovarian function. With fertility preservation, Dr. Rispler will recommend a proactive treatment plan to cryopreserve, or freeze, reproductive material for future use.
If you have a cancer diagnosis or family history that could impact future fertility, ask your oncologist or treating physician about taking action now to safeguard your reproductive health. Dr. Rispler will consult with your oncologist to design a fertility preservation strategy best suited to your treatment timeline and diagnosis.
Fertility Preservation Options at Innovative Fertility Center
Fertility preservation in women frequently involves in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The difference between traditional IVF and IVF with fertility preservation is
- the immediate, or emergency, scheduling of IVF
- modification for women with hormone sensitive cancers
- the omission of the last IVF phase—the embryo transfer
Oocyte Preservation with Ovarian Stimulation
Over a 2-3 week period, fertility drugs stimulate the ovaries to cause the body to produce multiple eggs in an ovulatory cycle. A fertility doctor harvests eggs in a minimally invasive in-office procedure and then the Innovative Fertility Center lab cryo-preserves eggs for future use. Eggs are stored short term at Innovative Fertility Center and then moved for long term storage off-site at several different California cryolabs.
Until recently, oocyte preservation produced disappointing results because the slow-freezing process caused damage to the eggs. Vitrification, or fast-freezing, the procedure now used and has led to greater IVF success rates with oocyte preservation due to less damage to the eggs when they are thawed.
Embryo Preservation with IVF
With embryo preservation, the IVF cycle is taken one step further. Harvested eggs are combined with sperm in the lab to form an embryo. These resulting embryos are then cryopreserved for future use.
This laparoscopic surgical procedure temporarily moves the ovary/ovaries away from planned radiation sites. Dr. Rispler does not perform this fertility surgery.
Semen can be collected and stored at a sperm bank prior to beginning cancer treatment. Innovative Fertility Center provides sperm collection services, and Dr. Rispler can recommend reputable sperm banks for preservation.
Non-Cancer Treatment Applications for Fertility Preservation
In addition to cancer, other non-cancer medical conditions and associated therapies can cause infertility. Consult with a fertility specialist about fertility preservation if you currently have or have a family history of:
- Premature ovarian failure
- Turner syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ovarian cysts
A Guided Plan for Fertility Preservation
After a cancer diagnosis, Dr. Rispler will prioritize your appointment to expedite the fertility preservation process. Your age, cancer type, area impacted by radiation and chemotherapy agents will determine the level of risk. For instance, taking cancer drugs in the “alkylating agent” category will likely impact fertility.
Your survival and long-term health matter most. Dr. Rispler will work with your oncologist to help you decide on a fertility treatment plan that will not interfere with your cancer treatment.
After cancer treatment, Dr. Rispler can help you start or add to your family with assisted reproductive technology, including IVF, donor eggs and donor sperm or frozen embryo/oocyte transfers.
Innovative Fertility Center staff members dedicate their lives to protecting and preserving fertility in men and women, and practice healthcare with compassion and kindness. Should you need further information on fertility preservation, contact us for a consultation that will restore hope for future child-bearing.