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The Importance of Discussing Fertility Preservation with Patients Diagnosed with Cancer

LisaCampo-Engelsteinby Lisa Campo-Engelstein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Alden March Bioethics Institute & Dept. of OBGYN, Albany Medical College

 

Approximately 10% of people diagnosed with cancer are within their reproductive years (generally defined as under 45).[i] Although life-saving, cancer treatments (e.g. radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery) can also lead to infertility in both females and males. Established reproductive technologies for women and men like gamete freezing and embryo freezing allow cancer patients to preserve their fertility in case they want to become biological parents in the future. As survival rates have increased, fertility preservation has become a more significant quality of life issue.[ii] Indeed, both young women and men state that the fertility preservation is important for them and the majority of those who are childless at the time of their cancer diagnosis express a desire to have biological children in the future.[iii],[iv]

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