What is oncofertility?
Cancer and cancer therapies often affect fertility. Also called fertility preservation, oncofertility refers to a variety of procedures that are used to preserve the option to have a family after cancer treatment. Sanford Women's Oncofertility helps women preserve fertility before and during cancer therapy.
Planning for a family after cancer can begin as soon as your cancer diagnosis is made – and we can help you choose the most appropriate method to protect and preserve your fertility.
While starting cancer therapy is often urgent, most women are able to take steps toward fertility preservation within two weeks after a diagnosis. Our experienced specialists are part of the Oncofertility Consortium – a national, interdisciplinary initiative exploring the relationships between health, disease, survivorship and fertility.
What types of treatments affect fertility?
Often surgery and chemotherapy have the most impact on fertility, however there are several factors that can determine whether or not a woman’s fertility is affected by cancer treatments, including:
- Duration of treatment
- Location of radiation
Who is eligible for fertility preservation?
It is always best to speak first with a physician about fertility preservation options. You might consider fertility preservation if you:
- Are in your reproductive stage of life and are concerned with preserving your fertility after cancer treatment
- Are in your mid-to-late thirties and not sure what the future holds, but would like to maintain the option for a family
What services are offered at Sanford Women’s Oncofertility?
- Egg freezing
A women’s eggs are retrieved and frozen to later be fertilized and used during the IVF process.
- Embryo freezing
Embryos are frozen to later be used after completing cancer treatment or when one is ready to conceive.
- Ovarian tissue freezing
A relatively new procedure in which the ovaries and tissue are carefully removed and transplanted back to the women after cancer treatment.
- In vitro maturation
In vitro maturation collects eggs from the patient and then the eggs mature in the lab.
- Ovarian transposition
Ovarian transposition moves the ovaries so they are out of the radiation treatment area.
- Ovarian suppression
Ovarian suppression uses medication to quiet hormones during cancer treatment.
- Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
A PGD procedure is performed on embryos prior to IVF implantation for parents at risk of passing on a genetic disorder.
- Pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS)
PGS is used to identify chromosomal abnormalities in embryos
Financial assistance available for patients who qualify.