Many women don’t preserve fertility before cancer treatments

Women diagnosed with cancer may face an unknown fertility future following cancer treatment.  Cancer therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy can leave women infertile, as the treatments can indirectly target a woman’s eggs.

In order to preserve fertility, women may choose from a number of options, including egg cryopreservation and ovarian tissue cryopreservation.  However, these techniques need to be performed before undergoing cancer treatments.

However, new research has found that few women opt to undergo these procedures to preserve their fertility.

Researchers evaluated the survey responses of 918 women who were diagnosed with cancer and received fertility-threatening cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, pelvic radiation, bone marrow transplant and pelvic surgery.

The study found that 61% of these women had been informed about potential cancer treatment-related infertility.  Interestingly, only 4% of women surveyed opted for fertility-preservation procedures before receiving cancer treatments.

That rate has increased over the past two decades, from 1% in 1993 to 10% in 2007.

However, researchers found that sociodemographic characteristics affected which women were most likely to receive fertility preservation information.

Specifically, women that were younger, Caucasian, childless, heterosexual and college educated were more likely to receive counseling for fertility preservation.

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