What is Oncofertility?
Oncofertility focuses solely on fertility preservation options for couples and individuals dealing with a cancer diagnosis. With Oncofertility, you can preserve your fertility prior to cancer treatment, allowing you to potentially create a healthy family after survival.
Cancer Treatments’ Effect on Fertility
A lot of things must take place for a couple to successfully conceive. Cancer treatments can interfere with some aspects of the reproductive process and thus affecting your ability to have children. Everyone does react to treatment differently, so it’s helpful to prepare.
There are other factors to consider as well, such as age, the types of drugs used, and the doses of drugs given. In some cases, it may be too high of a risk to delay cancer treatment.
Cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy can cause:
- Early menopause or irregular menstrual cycle
- High chances of ovaries getting damaged during pelvic and abdominal surgery.
- Egg damage
- High chances of miscarriages.
- A decrease in sterility or sperm count.
- A decrease in semen production or an inability to produce semen
- Damage to testes, thyroid and adrenal glands. These glands release hormones that stimulate puberty and control fertility
Other cancer treatment options such as hormone therapies and surgery can also have a negative effect on fertility. Some hormone therapies may prevent ovulation completely since a woman is put into temporary menopause. Hormone therapies used to treat prostate cancer can also affect sperm production.
Surgery on certain parts of the reproductive system can cause infertility. For some cancers, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is part of the treatment. Once the uterus is removed, a woman cannot carry a child. The ovaries might be removed (an oophorectomy) at the same time the uterus is taken out. Without ovaries, a woman can’t get pregnant because she no longer has any eggs. In some cases, the physician will try and save one ovary in order to preserve a woman’s fertility.
Sometimes surgery can cause scarring in the fallopian tubes, which may block the tubes. This prevents an egg from traveling to meet the sperm. This means an embryo cannot be formed and move onto the uterus to implant in the lining.
For men, treatment for testicular cancer may involve the removal of one testicle (orchiectomy), which is common. In some cases, such as prostate cancer, both testicles may be removed (bilateral orchiectomy) to stop testosterone production and slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. If sperm is not cryopreserved prior to treatment, the male will not be able to father children.