OBJECTIVE: To characterize the early experience of a clinical program designed to provide strategies for fertility preservation to female cancer patients about to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
DESIGN: Retrospective chart review; case-control study.
SETTING: Academic medical center.
PATIENT(S): Sixty-five female cancer patients and 57 age-matched infertility patients.
INTERVENTION: Enrollment in a program for fertility preservation.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Choice of active participation, fertility preservation option selection, clinical outcomes of patients undergoing oocyte retrieval, attitudes regarding embryo disposition.
RESULT(S): Of 65 patients referred to the program, 18 declined to undergo embryo, oocyte, or tissue cryopreservation. Six were found not to be eligible for medical reasons. Of the remaining 41 patients, 35 chose to cryopreserve embryos, four chose to cryopreserve oocytes, and two chose to undergo ovarian tissue freezing. Fewer oocytes were recovered from the embryo cryopreservation group when compared with an age-matched control group, but the mean number of zygotes generated was similar. Attitudes regarding embryo disposition were different between the two groups. No serious clinical sequelae resulted from participation.
CONCLUSION(S): Fertility preservation techniques employing available technology may provide safe and practical options to female cancer patients facing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. A significant number of otherwise appropriate participants decline active management. Cancer patients display different attitudes regarding embryo disposition when compared with infertility patients without cancer.
Susan C. Klock, John X. Zhang, and Ralph R. Kazer; Fertility and Sterility, In Press 2009