There are options that may be available to you to help you preserve your fertility. Some of these options require action to be taken before treatment begins, while others can wait until during or after treatment.
What are my options during cancer treatment?
• Ovarian shielding. If possible, the doctor can put a shield over your pelvic area to protect your reproductive organs from radiation.
• Gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRHs). Still experimental, this medicine may be used during chemotherapy to help lessen fertility damage.
What are my options before or after treatment?
• Ovarian tissue freezing. Under general anesthesia (where you aren’t awake at all) a surgeon may remove part of the ovary, or the entire ovary. It’s then frozen for later use. This is still an experimental option and is only available to girls who have already reached puberty.
• Ovarian transposition. A doctor surgically moves the ovaries away from the radiation field to minimize exposure and radiation damage.
• Egg freezing. Your doctor can remove mature eggs—which are then frozen and stored without being fertilized with sperm. Egg freezing is considered to be an experimental procedure that may only be an option for girls that have reached puberty.
What are some other after-treatment options?
• Donor embryos. This option enables a woman to become pregnant with a donated embryo (a baby made from anonymously donated sperm and egg).
• Donor eggs. A woman can receive donated eggs that have been fertilized with her partner’s sperm.
• Surrogacy. For a woman who is unable to be physically pregnant, there are different types of surrogacy options. “Surrogacy” is where another woman agrees to become pregnant and give birth to your baby for you.