Dr. Kalan explains the unique experience of helping a cancer patient maintain their fertility in order to have a baby in the future.
DR. MARC KALAN: Fertility preservation in cancer patients which has this newly coined term, "Oncofertility" is a wonderful outcropping of our basic infertility services. This is a really unique chance that we have for young patients who are newly diagnosed with a malignancy to maintain their fertility despite needing to be exposed to life saving treatments for cancer. So in these patients, in a patient who is diagnosed with cancer, their life is oftentimes turned upside down. And one of the wonderful advents of the advances of cancer treatment over the last 10 or 20 years is that young patients who are diagnosed with cancer are beginning to live long, fulfilling lives. But, the medication that allows them to have this long, fulfilling life often could rob them of their future fertility.
We can either do emergent in-vitro fertilization, create embryos and freeze embryos. We can do emergent ovarian stimulation and freeze Ocytes. We can freeze sperm in a male who was diagnosed with cancer; we can also freeze ovarian tissue. This is the newest of all the fertility preservation techniques. It can only be administered under an Institutional Review Board; this is a governing body that can oversee experimental procedures. At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we have Institutional Review Board approval to freeze ovarian tissue.
The type of fertility preservation technique a patient will use will depend on a variety of factors. Varieties including their age, their marital status, their health status, the type of diagnosis of cancer they have, and the timing that their oncologist will determine when they need to start their treatment. Depending on all these factors, we can fashion the right type of fertility preservation to each patient.
In a patient whose diagnosed with cancer, their world is turned upside down. And they have to deal with so many new and stressful issues. We are happy to provide a small ounce of hope that once they get through this treatment, that they will be able to continue their life and hopefully have a child one day. And that little bit of hope is invaluable to a patient who is facing a life threatening condition.