PDF icon The Oncofertility Consortium—addressing fertility in young people with cancer

Abstract

The number of young cancer survivors is increasing owing to advances in cancer therapeutics, but many face infertility as a result of their treatment. Technologies that already exist for cancer patients concerned about their future fertility include sperm banking for men and hormonal intervention followed by in vitro fertilization and embryo cryopreservation for women. However, logistical barriers to timely patient referral and coordination of care between specialties can limit patient access to all the available options. Moreover, there are few alternatives for young women and girls who cannot delay their cancer treatment, or who are unable to undergo hormonal intervention. The Oncofertility Consortium is a network of researchers, physicians and scholars who are advancing fertility preservation options for young cancer patients. Research into the societal, ethical, and legal implications is also an important part of the work performed by the Oncofertility Consortium, which is providing new perspectives on patient decision-making about how to access these emerging reproductive technologies. Experts in the fields of oncology, reproductive medicine, the social sciences, law, education, and the humanities are working together to develop next-generation reproductive interventions and promote communication between scholars, clinicians, patients, and the public to ensure that young cancer patients are equipped with the most appropriate information and options for having a family in the future.

Woodruff, T. K. Nat. Rev. Clin. Oncol. 7, 466–475. 2010.