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Texas Children's Pavilion for Women | Fertility After Cancer
We have fertility solutions that can help give you hope for the future.
You may be coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and wondering whether you will be able to have a child after radiation or chemotherapy. There is hope, thanks to advanced fertility preservation techniques. Our specialists can help preserve your ovaries or eggs before you undergo treatment for cancer.
Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Texas Children's Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center have joined forces to help cancer patients better understand how radiation and chemotherapy affects fertility.
Our fertility specialists will advise you about the latest fertility preservation techniques. We will also talk with you and your oncologist to determine the best approach for preserving your fertility before you’re treated for cancer.
Before you go through cancer treatment, specialists can freeze your embryos using a technique called in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo cryopreservation. With this treatment, specialists would use drugs to induce your ovaries to mature and release multiple eggs. Our specialists would fertilize these eggs in vitro using sperm from your partner or a donor. The embryos that form are frozen 3 to 5 days after fertilization, and then thawed and transferred back into your uterus when your cancer therapy is complete, your cancer is in remission and you’re healthy enough to experience childbirth. Depending on your age and medical circumstances at the time the embryos are frozen, the likelihood of pregnancy can be quite high, even many years later. Many cancer physicians would be willing to postpone your chemotherapy or radiation treatment for the 4 to 8 weeks it takes to perform this procedure.
Egg freezing or egg banking is an option if you and your oncologist are willing to delay your initial cancer treatment for 4 to 8 weeks. Or, the oncologist may choose to begin cancer treatment and then allow specialists to perform the procedure between your subsequent treatments.During this procedure, our specialists would use drugs that would induce your ovaries to mature and release multiple eggs. The recovered eggs would then be frozen before being fertilized. After the cancer is in remission, our specialists would thaw and fertilize the eggs.
Ovarian tissue freezing, or ovarian tissue banking, is a recent innovation with very few pregnancies and births reported. It is available to MD Anderson-Baylor College of Medicine Fertility Preservation Program patients as part of an approved research study.It’s a suitable treatment if you are younger (typically under age 30) or in cases where you cannot wait the four to eight weeks required to perform in vitro fertilization. During this procedure, specialists would surgically remove ovarian tissue, cut the tissue into very thin slices and then cryopreserve it. The procedure would take place just before your radiation or chemotherapy treatment. Once your cancer is in remission, the ovarian tissue slices would be placed either into or adjacent to your ovaries, or in a remote area of the body where eggs could later be removed and fertilized in vitro.
Many women may benefit from this technique, including those who experience ovarian failure caused by cancer treatment. With egg donation, any woman with a healthy uterus can potentially bear a child fathered by her partner. With this procedure, you can choose to select the egg donor anonymously through a donor egg agency. Or your donor could be a sister or other female relative with a similar genetic makeup. Our specialists remove the eggs from the donor and fertilize them with your partner’s sperm in the laboratory, then transfer them into your uterus. Egg donation is a proven, well-established assisted reproductive technique. The condition of your own eggs is not an issue. The main health concern is the age of the egg donor, so you could go through the procedure before age 50.