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Ad Astra Per Aspera | To the Stars through Difficulties

Ad Astra Per Aspera | To the Stars through Difficulties

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Fertility Preservation / Treatment

Fertility Preservation: Ontario Fertility Program

Astra Fertility Group participates in the Ontario Fertility Program related to fertility preservation for cancer patients. Your procedure to freeze your sperm and eggs is completely covered by the fertility program.

Fertility preservation is designed to guard against the impact of cancer treatment and, age (more in case of females) on egg and sperm production and their reproductive potential. Fertility preservation can also be offered in certain professions where unforeseen circumstances that can lead to gonadal (ovarian or testicular) damage or injury are more prevalent.

Effect of Cancer Treatment on Fertility

Certain cancer treatments can harm your fertility or cause sterility. The effects, which might be temporary or permanent, can occur immediately or at some point after treatment. The likelihood that cancer treatment will harm your fertility depends on several factors, including the type of cancer, cancer treatment, and your age at the time of treatment.

Male fertility can be harmed by the surgical removal of the testicles or by chemotherapy or radiation that damages sperm quantity, quality, or DNA.

Female fertility can be compromised by cancer treatments that involve the surgical removal of the uterus or ovaries. Cancer treatment can also affect eggs, hormone levels, or the functioning of the ovaries, uterus or cervix. The risk of developing premature menopause after certain cancer treatments increases as you age.

Methods of Female Fertility Preservation

Women who are about to undergo cancer treatment has various options when it comes to fertility preservation:

  • Embryo cryopreservation
    In this procedure, eggs are harvested from your ovaries, fertilized through in vitro fertilization (IVF), frozen and stored. This method has the highest chance of success for women. Timing ovarian stimulation for egg harvesting can delay the start of cancer treatment by two to four weeks, but research suggests that random ovarian stimulation can be successful and safe.
  • Egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation)
    Similar to embryo cryopreservation, you’ll get injections of a medication to stimulate your ovaries and have your eggs harvested. Then your unfertilized eggs are frozen. Two to four weeks are required to complete the process.
  • Ovarian transposition (oophoropexy)
    This is done laparoscopically to move the ovaries out of the danger area. It is recommended if you’re having radiation applied to your pelvis and no chemotherapy – – your ovaries are surgically repositioned just before radiation therapy so they’re as far away as possible from the planned radiation field. However, due to scatter radiation, the procedure doesn’t always protect the ovaries. After treatment, you might need to have your ovaries repositioned again or use IVF to conceive.

Other methods of fertility preservation for women still being researched include ovarian tissue cryopreservation – in which ovarian tissue is surgically removed, frozen and later re-implanted.

Ovarian suppression before cancer therapy can also be done, where hormonal therapies (depot Lupron), are used to suppress ovarian function and therefore protect your eggs during cancer treatment.

Male Fertility Preservation before Cancer Treatment

Men can also take steps to preserve their fertility before undergoing cancer treatment or in high-risk professions.

Sperm cryopreservation

  • Before you begin cancer treatment, you’ll provide semen samples through masturbation or another method, such as testicular/epididymal sperm extraction via a needle. Samples are frozen and can be stored for years. Depending on the amount of sperm available, samples might be used in the future with IUI or with IVF.