If you're facing cancer, your life may feel as if it's just been flipped upside-down. While your prognosis and treatment will be unique, there's one common fertility challenge (male or female!) question that many people battling cancer will ask: "How will this affect my ability to have children?"
Why is family planning important when you're facing cancer treatments?
In the last few years, we've seen an incredible survival rate increase in some previously more serious prognosis-rated cancers, such as breast cancer, blood cancers, and even melanoma.
Powerful new treatment methods mean there's a very real chance that the cancer will be survived, and the survivor will have a long and healthy life. At Kofinas, our goal is to make sure that long and healthy life can include your dream of starting (or growing) your family!
Advancing Our Advocacy
As fertility advocates, our first step is to listen to your goals and to understand your situation. But before we move forward with a specific treatment plan, step two of our process is counseling you on the best options for achieving your goals. This is an essential development in the family planning world, as we begin to strive for accessible, timely education before you might begin any cancer treatment plan.
We will work together to gather and sort through your options for fertility treatments. For our patients who will soon face cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, we need to advance our conversations to dive deeper into the possible limitations and alternatives after your treatment is complete.
Men and women who want to pursue pregnancy after cancer treatment have a very short window of time (usually 2-3 weeks after diagnosis) to make these life-altering decisions--but it's a common misconception that this window is too small for freezing eggs or sperm cryopreservation.
On the contrary, you actually have multiple options!
Understanding Your Family Planning Options
Too many people perceive egg- and sperm-freezing as a 2-month process which, of course, you can't afford when you're in need of immediate cancer treatment. However, we're actually able to start egg freezing as soon as you've had a consultation with our team.
If we're able to extract enough eggs that appear viable, we will often be able to complete the process in 2-3 weeks. This is often the same length of time it may take you to schedule initial cancer treatments.
Another interesting option you might consider is freezing ovarian tissue, which can be done in just 24 to 48 hours. Ovarian tissue is removed in a simple procedure, and then frozen. If you decide to try for pregnancy in the future, we will re-implant the tissue to encourage your eggs to mature again. If your oncologist feels you do not have time for a cycle of egg or embryo freezing, this could be an answer. This is not a widely offered service, but especially here at Kofinas, we pursue any possible options. Ovarian tissue-freezing will become more popular in family planning over the next few years across the country.
Your Next Steps
Make an appointment today with our team to better understand the option that's right for you. When a future family is on the line, let us help you keep your options open as you focus on the fight at-hand.