Houston is a major destination for people battling cancer. The city's medical center is renowned for providing the most advanced cancer care available, and patients come from around the world to access life-saving science and techniques. Besides the facilities in the centrally-located Texas Medical Center, there are also cancer treatment centers in outlying areas around Harris County where patients are receiving the benefits of cutting edge research put into clinical practice.
More cancer patients are surviving and going on to live healthy, happy lives. But many forms of cancer treatment result in infertility. Fortunately, the technology exists now to take steps to preserving a person's fertility for the future. Freezing embryos and freezing eggs top the list of techniques proving successful. And for patients who have types of cancer that are transmitted genetically, the technology is available to screen embryos for the related genes.
I've networked for several years now with organizations that assist cancer patients, groups like Livestrong's Fertile Hope program, the Young Survivors Coalition, and the Susan G. Koman Foundation. Speaking to groups about fertility preservation is always eye-opening for them and for me. I continue to hear the same sense of surprise and sometimes regret from participants who wish they had known before undergoing cancer treatment. I wish they had known, too.
If you know someone who's struggling with cancer, let them know that infertility doesn't have to be part of the result. Help me and other reproductive endocrinologists make fertility treatment available to cancer patients, by spreading the word about the hopeful possibilities.
Women Want Working Options for Motherhood
On Lindsay Nohr Beck's presentation at ASRM 2009.
Fertility Preservation and Oncology
My thoughts about Jane Brody's column on how oncology is still behind the curve in addressing their patients' future fertility needs.