Fertility Preservation for Cancer Patients


Women of reproductive age that receive a diagnosis of cancer may be facing potential loss of future fertility or diminishment in the chances of future childbearing. Some surgeries and many forms of chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the pelvis may severely compromise ovarian or uterine function. In the past, there were limited options presented to cancer patients in regards to fertility preservation. Today, in addition to the possibility of freezing of embryos, women now have the option of freezing their unfertilized eggs so that these may be fertilized and implanted at a later date. This significant step forward in fertility treatment enables women that are not yet partnered to preserve hope of having a child with a future partner.


Fast-Tracking Treatment

We recognize that a new diagnosis of cancer is a frightening experience and patients are grappling with all the important medical treatment decisions. Plus, most oncologists (cancer physicians) and the patients themselves are anxious to get on with treating the malignancy as soon as possible. Therefore, We will "fast track" the patient through the IVF preparation process and we can even start medications at any time in the menstrual cycle, avoiding any delays to obtaining eggs as soon as possible.

Fertility medications

The first step in this process is to generate multiple eggs for retrieval. You will be prescribed medicines to stimulate follicle growth and produce multiple eggs. Medications are injected subcutaneously (just beneath the skin) with a very fine needle. As always, our staff will counsel and instruct you on this process and be available to you throughout. This phase of treatment lasts approximately 10 days.

Ultrasound monitoring and lab tests

Your physician will monitor you on a regular basis to assess follicle growth and the number of eggs you are producing. When eggs are determined to be mature and ready for retrieval, you will stop taking the fertility medication and receive one injection of HCG, a hormone that prepares eggs for ovulation so they may be retrieved.

Egg retrieval procedure

your doctor will use ultrasound guidance to gently retrieve eggs from the ovarian follicles. You will be under anaesthesia throughout the procedure. The retrieval is performed in our center patients are able to resume normal activity shortly after the procedure.

Egg preservation

Your eggs are preserved through a rapid freezing process called vitrification. Eggs remain frozen until they are needed. The eggs may be kept frozen indefinitely so it is critically important that patients maintain annual contact with the center so we know the eggs have not been abandoned.


When you decide that you are ready to use your eggs, they will be warmed in the laboratory. The warming is a rapid procedure performed on the day the eggs will be fertilized and must be synchronized with a woman's cycle. Over 90% of frozen eggs should survive the freeze- warm process.

Fertilization Warm

Warmed eggs are next fertilized in our laboratory using a procedure called ICSI Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection in which a single sperm is injected into each egg. Because the protein coat surrounding a frozen-warmed egg is hardened by the freezing process, ICSI rather than conventional mixing of eggs and sperm is required for successful fertilization.

Embryo transfer

Prior to transfer, your doctor will discuss with you the number of embryos recommended for transfer. This number is based on a number of factors. Your doctor will transfer the fertilized eggs (embryos) into the uterus using an abdominal ultrasound. The transfer feels similar to a Pap smear and does not require anesthesia. The procedure takes about 15 minutes (the transfer itself takes just 30 seconds).

Re-freezing of excess embryos

According to the decision you make with your physician, excess embryos may be re-frozen. Re-freezing the fertilized eggs is safe and will make it possible to do another transfer if the first one does not work or possibly even have a future child if the first transfer does work.

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