Emergency IVF and embryo freezing
This is still the gold standard endorsed by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. However it does require that you have a male partner or be willing to accept donor sperm in order to fertilize your eggs. IVF treatment must be undertaken expeditiously so as not to delay your cancer treatment.
Because of the concern of excessive estrogen exposure to cancer known to be hormone sensitive, such as breast cancer, non-traditional medications such as aromatase inhibitors may be used instead of standard IVF medications. In the alternative, in-vitro maturation of oocytes may be performed followed by intracytoplasmic injection and freezing of the embryos.
Medical treatment with GnRH analogs, e.g. leuprolide acetate, has been advocated by several small studies as an option to preserve female fertility against damages by chemotherapeutic agents. The effectiveness of this treatment has not been substantiated by objective evaluation. Ongoing multi-center study in the U.S. is examining whether leuprolide, a GnRH analog, is effective in protecting the ovaries from the toxicities of chemotherapy.
Ovarian tissue cryo-banking before cancer treatment
Over a dozen babies have been born after ovarian tissue was harvested from one ovary before cancer treatment and kept frozen until the patient recovered from cancer treatment. The frozen ovarian tissues were re-implanted on the pelvic wall or onto the remaining ovary. Successful pregnancies resulting from spontaneous ovulation after re-implantation have been documented although experts agree the re-implanted ovarian tissue generally have a short life-span.
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