Women who are diagnosed with cancer become doubtful about their fertility that may be affected due to life-saving cancer treatments. While a cancer treatment focuses on the recovery of a patient, for many women preserving their fertility during such situation is very important. In such situations, assisted reproductive technology such as egg freezing is considered as viable fertility preservation approach for these women fa cing very challenging times in their lives.
Before we know more about egg freezing as an option to preserve fertility, let us see how cancer treatment affects the fertility of a woman.
Cancer can affect any organ of reproductive tract such as the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and other parts. Surgery is one the common approaches to remove the tumor. However, it a may leave a scar tissue that may hinder conception. And in more critical circumstances, an entire organ is removed which certainly affects the woman’s ability to conceive.
In radiation therapy, high powered radiations are targeted to kill cancer cells, but during the process, these radiations can kill nearby healthy cells also. If cancer affected organ is closer to reproductive tract and abdomen, it can affect the future fertility prospects of the patient woman. In addition, if the cancer-affected part is near the pituitary gland of the brain, in that case also, radiation process can lead to fertility issues. It can also induce premature menopause and stop ovulation permanently.
Chemotherapy drugs can harm ovaries in many ways. The treatment makes use of the medicines that work by stopping or killing fast-dividing cells. While the target of these medicines is cancer cells, they can damage other fast diving cells also. This treatment can certainly damage the eggs of the patient. It especially harms the eggs that are to be released by ovaries during ovulation. It can result in situations like lost eggs; damaged eggs which when fertilized will lead to genetic defects in the foetus. Or the patient may even go to premature menopause and stop ovulating at all.
Why Egg freezing is a good option for preserving fertility
Egg Freezing, technically termed as oocyte cryopreservation, offers patients a way to hold on to their fertility before cancer treatment starts. In other words, it helps to stop the biological clock on fertility. During egg freezing process, fertility doctors put women on medications that stimulate the ovaries to induce maturity in a large number of eggs at once. Doctors monitor the progression minutely so that they can retrieve the healthy eggs from the patient’s body using a small procedure. These eggs are flash-frozen and can be stored up to ten years. These frozen eggs can be used through IVF procedure once the woman is healthy once again. Also, if uterus of the woman is damaged during the cancer treatment, there is a possibility to conceive through these eggs with the help of a gestational surrogate.
Ovarian stimulation used during egg freezing procedure is not at all dangerous procedure even for a cancer patient. However, these patients have to take quick decision and actions to tame the timing as they might not have enough time to delay cancer treatment. Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic, a well-known fertility hospital, based in the UK, Dubai, and India, provides expert fertility treatments. It is known for delivering over 39,000 babies to date. For any queries and doubt, get in touch with doctors at Bourn Hall Fertility clinic.