Knowledge and Time are KEY for Male & Female Patients
The Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine provides fertility preservation services for patients either interested in preserving their fertility due to simple personal choice or in order to avoid the ill effects of a medical disease and/or treatment.
Available Preservation Services
- Egg Cryopreservation
- Sperm Cryopreservation
- Embryo Cryopreservation
- Ovarian Tissue Preservation
- Testicular Tissue Preservation
Reasons for One to Preserve Their Fertility Potential
- Delayed Child Birth
- Personal Choice
- Career Building
- Waiting for Mr./Mrs. Right
- Military Deployment
- Medical Necessity
- Advanced Maternal Age
- Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
- Early Menopause
- Cancer Treatment
- Surgical Procedure
The Importance Of Fertility Preservation Prior To Cancer Care
It is very unfortunate; however, many peak reproductive aged adults (25-35 years) battle cancer every year. In most cases, they are never informed of the possible effects the disease and resulting treatment(s) could have on their fertility and only in time discover the end results. This is not necessary as there are multiple available options to preserve one's fertility and multiple programs that can offset the majority of the patient's costs. The most important factors are a patient's and physician's knowledge of available options concerning fertility preservation and quick timeliness in seeking it.
It total, the American Cancer Society projects around 140,000 new cancer cases in individuals under the age of 45 each year; 38% of the cases in male patients and 62% of the cases in female patients. The majority of these patients will go through cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, without ever being notified of available fertility preservation options that could be completed within a short window of time, two to three weeks. Both chemotherapy and radiotherapy adversely affect one's reproductive function; it's just a matter of how much. While it may not necessarily result in premature menopause, it ALWAYS has some effect on fertility, most commonly loss of ovarian follicles and reduced sperm count and quality. Chemotherapy, alone, adds at least 10 years of "real age" or "ovarian age" with relationship to reproductive function. This means a 25-year-old going through chemotherapy will behave, reproductively, like a 35-year-old. This is why it is very important that fertility preservation be completed prior to cancer treatment no matter whether it is a female or male patient.
Providing Awareness on the importance of Fertility Preservation
The main obstacles to fertility preservation are awareness and cost. Unfortunately, the majority of cancer patients report their oncologist never raised the issue of fertility preservation prior to cancer treatment. Since most cancer patients have a relatively short lead time between diagnosis and the beginning of treatment, the physicians typically focus on moving quickly to treatment and beating the cancer; thus, little to no thought is paid to the prospective quality of life after the treatment process.
There are currently a number of groups seeking to educate physicians, especially oncologists, and patients about the importance of fertility preservation. Two of these groups are major influences in the medical field. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has guidelines on fertility preservation that states health care providers SHOULD discuss the possibility of infertility with adults of reproductive age or the parents/guardians of children and adolescents and address fertility preservation as early as possible, prior to treatment for cancer. In addition, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted, in June 2013, to support insurance coverage for fertility preservation for cancer patients and has begun a campaign on this issue.
If you or someone you know of childbearing age (including teenagers) is facing cancer treatment, please have them contact Dr. Ahlering, immediately, at (636) 778-9899 to request a consultation.Be sure to let the MCRM staff know you are contacting us regarding Fertility Preservation for cancer care . This will allow us to expedite your process.