Prof Igno Siebert, Aevitas fertility specialist, recently presented as speaker on fertility preservation for cancer patients at SASMO Congress 2018. SASMO 2018 took place during the month of November 2018, in Durban. SASMO is a national, interdisciplinary initiative and inter-professional network of medical specialists and scientists, aiming to explore care of patients during and after cancer treatment.
Why is fertility preservation important for cancer patients?
The world is moving into a time and age where cancer patient survival rates are steadily improving, due to the improvement of cancer treatments. Therefore, more men and women can look forward to a life after cancer, however it is often at the cost of their fertility. Infertility can either be caused due to the cancer itself or due to the treatment.
Cancer patients should be well informed of fertility preservation
Prof Siebert spoke about fertility preservation within the field of oncology, for young reproductive women. Prof Siebert is of the opinion that young woman (younger than 40) suffering from cancer, may still desire fertility once they have defeated their battle with cancer. Therefore, treatment options should be discussed with these patients as early as possible. Many times, these women don’t want to proceed with fertility preservation. However, these patients should still be educated about their options and presented with the opportunity to have this discussion with a fertility specialist.
Fertility preservation strategies include:
- egg freezing,
- embryo freezing
- tissue freezing of the ovaries
- Sperm freezing can be advised as fertility preservation options to young men (under 50) undergoing cancer treatment.
Cancer survivors deserve to look forward to a life after cancer, which for many, includes the dream of having children. The option of fertility preservation can help those dreams materialise.