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Preservation before Chemotherapy


Fertility preservation before chemotherapy

Couples who need to undergo cancer treatments and wish to conceive need to know about fertility reservation.  

Preserving fertility

Trying to protect ovaries during chemotherapy is a challenge — usually, the measures to protect or preserve fertility need to be taken before the treatment begins. The various types of fertility preservation include embryo cryopreservation, egg freezing, ovarian transposition, radiation shielding, and surgical removal of the cervix.

How to preserve fertility before cancer chemotherapy
  • Embryo cryopreservation - this involves harvesting eggs, fertilizing, and freezing them so that it can be implanted later.

  • Egg freezing - the unfertilized eggs can be harvested and frozen under this procedure. This is also termed as oocyte preservation.

  • Ovarian transposition - the ovaries are surgically repositioned in the pelvis so that it will be out of the radiation field. Scatter radiation could affect the ovaries. After the treatment, the ovaries need to be repositioned again to conceive.

  • Radiation shielding: there will be small lead shields are placed over the ovaries to reduce the amount of radiation exposure.

  • Surgical removal of the cervix - to treat early-stage cancer cervix, a large cone-shaped cervical section including cancerous area, will be removed. This helps preserve the remaining cervix and the uterus.

Male Infertility

The menstrual cycle may normalize after chemotherapy depending on the type of chemotherapy. Even after chemotherapy, if the uterus is intact there are chances of getting pregnant. Getting accurate information about fertility preservation methods before beginning cancer treatment can help make the right choice.

Preservation of fertility for males

Sperm cryopreservation and radiation shielding are used to preserve fertility. Sperm cryopreservation involves freezing and storing sperm in a sperm bank for later use. Samples could be frozen and stored for years.  Radiation shielding is done by placement of small lead shields over the testicles to reduce the amount of radiation exposure.

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Authored By : DR RUCHI MALHOTRA, DGO DNB - Obstetrics & Gynecology