The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently released an update to its 2013 guidelines for fertility preservation in patients with cancer. Study members conducted a review of 61 relevant publications and determined that none of these publications prompted a significant change in the 2013 recommendations. ASCO recommends the following and advises healthcare providers to discuss the possibility of infertility with patients as soon as possible.
Health care providers should initiate the discussion on the possibility of infertility with patients with cancer treated during their reproductive years or with parents/guardians of children as early as possible. Providers should be prepared to discuss fertility preservation options and/or to refer all potential patients to appropriate reproductive specialists. Although patients may be focused initially on their cancer diagnosis, providers should advise patients regarding potential threats to fertility as early as possible in the treatment process so as to allow for the widest array of options for fertility preservation. The discussion should be documented. Sperm, oocyte, and embryo cryopreservation are considered standard practice and are widely available. There is conflicting evidence to recommend gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) and other means of ovarian suppression for fertility preservation. The Panel recognizes that, when proven fertility preservation methods are not feasible, and in the setting of young women with breast cancer, GnRHa may be offered to patients in the hope of reducing the likelihood of chemotherapy-induced ovarian insufficiency. GnRHa should not be used in place of proven fertility preservation methods. The panel notes that the field of ovarian tissue cryopreservation is advancing quickly and may evolve to become standard therapy in the future. Additional information is available at www.asco.org/survivorship-guidelines.
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