Breast Cancer & Fertility Preservation: Five Steps You Can Take Now to Have a Baby Later

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Breast Cancer & Fertility Preservation: Five Steps You Can Take Now to Have a Baby Later

Female breast cancer patient smiling, fertility preservation

Unfortunately, many women don’t understand their fertility preservation options, especially if they’ve received a cancer diagnosis before thinking about having a baby. The American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommend, when possible, at-risk patients be referred to a fertility preservation specialist prior to beginning cancer treatments. Understanding your options can improve your emotional outlook as well as your future quality of life. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, there are safe and effective ways to preserve your fertility and have a baby later in life.

Five steps to preserve your fertility

Most chemotherapy treatments damage a woman’s eggs and negatively affect her overall fertility—though it largely depends on her age, the types of drugs she’s given and the drug doses. Here are five steps you can take to preserve your fertility:

  1. Egg freezing
    Egg freezing with vitrification (state-of-the-art egg freezing) is recommended for patients who are entering invasive cancer treatments that may inhibit the production of eggs after treatment.
  2. Blastocyst freezing
    Blastocyst freezing preserves fertilized eggs (grown five or six days following insemination) for future use.
  3. Ovarian tissue banking
    Ovarian tissue banking is the surgical removal and vitrification of ovarian tissue. This can include the entire ovary or pieces of an ovary. The outer layer of the ovary, which holds the eggs, will be removed cut into smaller pieces and frozen.
  4. Ovarian suppression
    Ovarian suppression requires monthly injections of leuprolide, a medication that blocks the hormones that stimulate the ovaries and lead to ovulation. This prevents eggs from maturing; with the hope it will protect them from the effects of chemotherapy.
  5. Ovarian transposition
    Ovarian transposition is the surgical repositioning of the ovaries so they are out of the radiation field. This method is typically used for chemotherapy to the pelvic area.

If you are interested in learning more about fertility preservation methods, contact CACRM. Our fertility preservation specialist, Dr. Lori Arnold, has been successfully helping fertility patients worldwide for more than 20 years. Call 760-274-2000 to learn more.

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