Preserving Hope After a Diagnosis of Cancer
Due to the vast advances made in the fields of oncology, cancer diagnoses are made much earlier and treatments are becoming more and more successful – ultimately leading to increased survival rates. It is important to consider fertility as an important factor for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer and other serious chronic conditions and diseases.
The Valley Hospital Fertility Center is committed to offering fertility preservation options for cancer patients.
We offer a variety of options to give you peace of mind for child bearing in the future. Egg freezing and embryo freezing are available to patients with a cancer diagnosis before chemotherapy or radiation treatment begins.
It is important to know that the timing of these treatments is determined by your reproductive hormones and that the treatment is generally started at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. If cancer is diagnosed and you are interested in discussing future childbearing options, it is important to call your oncologist and Valley’s Fertility Center as soon as possible so that the cancer and fertility preservation treatments can coordinate. The fertility preservation treatment takes about two weeks and is usually fit in between your initial diagnostic procedures and your cancer treatment.
Egg freezing is a breakthrough technology that allows women to freeze and store their eggs until a pregnancy is desired, at which time the eggs are thawed, fertilized and transferred to the uterus as embryos. These new developments offer the hope of preserving fertility for a large number of women.
An egg freezing cycle starts the same way as a regular in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment cycle and involves stimulating the woman's ovaries with fertility medications. By stimulating the ovaries with fertility medication, we are usually able to have multiple eggs reach maturation during a single treatment cycle. The number of eggs retrieved varies from woman to woman and depends on a woman’s age and how the individual woman’s body responds to the fertility medications. A short recovery room stay (usually 1-2 hours) is necessary after the egg retrieval. It is necessary to have an escort take you home after the procedure because of the anesthesia.
After the eggs are removed from the body, they are brought to the clinical laboratory where they are initially evaluated and then frozen. All eggs retrieved and frozen at The Valley Hospital’s Embryology Laboratory are stored and maintained onsite.
Embryo freezing is an option for couples in which a cancer diagnosis has been made in the female partner. Embryo freezing involves an in vitro fertilization cycle (IVF) with the intention to create embryos using the partner’s sperm. Once the eggs are mature, they are surgically retrieved and then immediately fertilized with the sperm of the partner. The resulting embryos are then frozen and stored at The Valley Hospital Embryology Laboratory on site at the Luckow Pavilion. These embryos will remain stored until the couple is ready to have them transferred back into the woman’s uterus.
We encourage you to check with your insurance carrier before beginning any procedures. Although many insurance companies do not cover these procedures, there are resources available to you. The Valley Hospital Fertility Center is a proud member of LIVESTRONG’s Sharing Hope Program. As a participating center in the Sharing Hope Program, VHFC works with LIVESTRONG to increase access to fertility preservation services for cancer patients. To apply or for more information, please visit www.livestrong.org/fertilehope.
For More Information
We encourage you to come in and speak with our fertility specialists and physicians to learn more about these procedures. To make an appointment, please call 201-634-5515. Upon request, we will provide referrals to sperm banks and other services.