Tissue freezing may be key to giving some cancer patients the chance to have children

Recent experimental treatments might be integral to giving young people with cancer the chance to bear their own biological children.Chemotherapy and radiation treatments for certain types of cancer can pose the risk of sterilization, a problem that just lately has been given more of a spotlight.

Until recently, loss of fertility was often ignored when giving young men and women sterilizing cancer treatments because it was thought that there was not much that could be done to preserve it.Growing research in oncofertility is attempting to change that.The risk of sterilization is often not heavily weighted in parents’ and patients’ minds when a cancer diagnosis is given.Usually all thoughts are on the treatment, not life after survival.Many doctors don’t even refer patients who risk sterilization through treatment for a fertility consultation.This is beginning to change as new research and techniques in this field are being explored.

However, this up and coming field is also raising ethical questions.Who owns the frozen reproductive materials?Can the parents of the child who provided them access them in the case of their death?There are many issues related to this new treatment that must be explored.

Along with new efforts to preserve patients’ fertility, many doctors are also opting for chemotherapy and radiation treatments that are less likely to cause sterilization in the first place.

Above all, research and treatments in oncofertilty are focused on providing hope and possibilities for men and women who face infertility after their cancer treatments.Tissue freezing offers many cancer patients the opportunity to have biological children in the future.More research, information, and availability are necessary to making sure this treatment is available to the people it could benefit. The Cancer Support Community supports empowered and educated patients and families who plan for survival from point of diagnosis.

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