Preserving Fertility in Women Facing Cancer
By Dr. Edouard Servy|February 20th, 2019|
In 2012, about 80,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in women of reproductive age in the USA. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology have put forth official guidelines recommending that patients be counseled about the effects of cancer treatment on fertility and preservation options.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy pose a high risk of damage and toxicity to the ovaries. Strategies for fertility preservation prior to cancer treatment depend on a patient’s age, the type and urgency of treatment. Embryo and oocyte cryopreservation are the two established methods of fertility preservation offered through assisted reproduction technology (ART).
Embryo cryopreservation, whenever possible, is the gold standard. The ideal is to freeze by vitrification at the blastocyst stage (day five post fertilization), a method that we have introduced in the USA in 1988. Vitrification is a technique in which freezing occurs very rapidly with liquids nitrogen and the embryo is solidified into a glass-like state. At SMFI, the success rate with frozen/thawed blastocyst embryos is just as high as with fresh transfers.
Mature oocyte cryopreservation, also by vitrification, is an alternative option for women who do not have partners or who are not ready for conception. Until recently, oocyte freezing was considered an experimental procedure. However in October 2012, SARM published an official guideline stating that it can no longer be considered experimental and can be recommended based on significant improved outcomes. Servy Institute of Reproductive Endocrinology (S.I.R.E) established a program of oocyte cryopreservation in February 2012 with three proven successes in the first five attempts.
See the original blog post here: Preserving Fertility in Women Facing Cancer
About the Author: Dr. Edouard Servy
Edouard Servy, MD, is the founder of Servy Fertility Institute and an expert in infertility treatment, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), hysteroscopic and laparoscopic surgery. He is also trained in Internal Medicine with a focus on Endocrinology and metabolic disease. As a recipient of the highly prized Irene Bernard grant, Dr. Servy came to Augusta, Georgia, in 1969 for a research fellowship under endocrinology pioneers Dr. Robert B. Greenblatt and Dr. Virendra Mahesh. After completing his training, Dr. Servy established his private practice in Augusta. Dr. Servy’s lab was responsible for the first intrauterine insemination and the first IVF-embryo transfer at blastocyst stage in the United States, as well as the first live birth after cryopreservation at the blastocyst stage following ICSI in the world.