Many women who find themselves being treated for cancer often believe that infertility will be one of the results of the lifesaving procedures that they must have. However, cancer treatments vary, and depending on which kind you undergo, you may not suffer infertility at all. Still others will be able to access many of the latest, and updated, fertility medications, which work in conjunction with other medications to give your body the best of all possible chances at a normal pregnancy, despite having had cancer.
Research for Preventing Infertility a National Focus
The UREI (Unit on Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility) is a nationally funded program that is actively researching the causes and the treatments for infertility as a result of cancer and cancer treatments. Early results are encouraging and scientists have found several ways to prevent damage to a woman’s ovaries and reproductive system while going through chemotherapy. Some of the research indicates that procedural differences can be applied which will mitigate loss of fertility in women who are undergoing treatment for certain types of cancer.
Treatment Options for Infertility in Cancer Patients
Research indicates that while men are almost immediately informed of the potential of fertility loss, many women are not advised. So, if you are a woman and know that you have cancer, start early on, prior to treatment, to tell them about your desire to one day have children. Damage to the ovaries and to the reproductive system can be kept at a minimum.
However, if you find that after cancer treatments, there is damage to the ovaries, or the uterine lining, there are fertility medications that can return the uterine lining to pre-cancer treatment status, as well as return the ovaries to a state where they produce mature and viable eggs. A cancer diagnosis does not have to be the end of your reproductive life cycle, or the last chance for you to have children.
Cancer Treatments and IVF Treatments
Many cancer patients opt for Invitro Fertilization treatments, and there has been good success with this procedure. Several cycles might be necessary before pregnancy occurs and each case is different, so consulting with a doctor whose specialty is in IVF medications and IVF protocols is crucial. IVF medications have been developed that allow a woman’s ovaries to produce viable and mature eggs, restores the body’s hormonal levels to support embryonic implantation, and will assist in preventing miscarriages after implantation. The science is now available for those who wish to have children and have lived through a traumatic diagnosis of cancer or other serious types of diseases. For example, if you tell your oncologist that you have hopes of starting a family one day, then they can oftentimes suppress the ovary, effectively shutting it down while you are undergoing treatment to protect them.
Preserving Fertility for Women with Cancer
For more information on the specific types of fertility options for women with cancer, cancer.org offers a chart that lists out the treatments that are possible, as well as the fertility medications that can or cannot be taken while being treated for cancer. The science and the ongoing research into fertility with cancer patients, fertility medications, and newly emerging fertility procedures is truly one of the most exciting fields of study currently underway, involving many countries around the world.