The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great opportunity to bring much-needed awareness to this devastating disease as well as stress the vital importance of early detection. Unfortunately, many women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer are still within their childbearing years and are faced with yet another tough decision – fertility preservation.
This is a personal decision and one that requires heavy consideration in order to make the best decision for the future. Here we take a closer look at this process and the different options that are available…
When Should I Discuss Fertility Preservation with My Doctor?
“Studies show that the majority of oncologists do not discuss fertility routinely with their at-risk patients,” as stated in an article from Livestrong.com. If you’re facing cancer, talk to your doctor, oncologist, or a reproductive specialist at Arizona Associates fro Reproductive Health as soon as possible before starting treatments. Just one treatment can damage your fertility! Time is also of the essence as certain methods of fertility preservation may require you to postpone your medical treatment for several weeks or months.
What Fertility Preservation Options are Available?
There are a number of options available to preserve fertility that increase your chances of having a biological child after your cancer treatments have been completed.
- Egg freezing
- Embryo freezing
- Ovarian tissue cryopreservation
- Ovarian suppression
- Ovarian transposition
Freezing embryos remains the most successful approach, however, this is not possible for women who do not have a partner or do not wish to use donor sperm. If this is the case, the other fertility preservation options should be considered.
Should I or Shouldn’t I?
There is no right or wrong decision about fertility preservation, and it all comes down to what is right for YOU. The pressure to make this decision so quickly makes it tough, as does the uncertainty of your breast cancer diagnosis. Here are some things our Arizona fertility specialists recommend you consider before you make the decision:
- The risk of becoming infertile from your cancer treatment. This should be discussed with your oncologist.
- Your oncologist’s opinion about your safety if you are to undergo egg or embryo freezing.
- Whether you are comfortable with receiving hormones to stimulate your ovaries.
- The importance of having a biological child.
- Your financial resources.
- The emotional and physical toll of the fertility preservation process and thereafter.
- Your comfort with the possibility of having a child by way of donor eggs, a gestational carrier, or adoption.
- Your partner’s thoughts and wishes.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are considering fertility preservation options, we can help. At AZARH, we understand what you are going through, and we will be there every step of the way to provide support and compassionate care. For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our top fertility doctors at our greater Phoenix clinics, please call us at (480) 946-9900.