Breast cancer in young women receives considerable attention. While cure rates are high, only a small fraction of survivors treated with chemotherapy will conceive, making fertility preservation before treatment critical.
Recent Breast Cancer Research
Two important studies published this week demonstrate that women with breast cancer have improved survival rates if they start cancer treatment within thirty to ninety days of diagnosis (Timeliness in Breast Cancer Treatment—The Sooner, the Better).
Fertility Preservation at RMA
The fertility preservation team at RMA at Jefferson has significant expertise helping women newly diagnosed with cancer.
- Patients are evaluated by a fertility specialist physician within 24 to 48 hours of referral.
- Injectable medications, which typically cost thousands of dollars, can be obtained free of charge.
- Fertility treatment can start at any point in a woman’s menstrual cycle – usually within 3 days of initial evaluation.
- Eggs can be retrieved within 2 ½ weeks.
- Women without a partner can freeze eggs, while those with a partner typically freeze fertilized embryos.
- Frozen embryos likely produce even healthier children than with fresh embryos. We have had successful pregnancies using embryos frozen for almost a decade. There is less known about how long frozen embryos can remain viable, but with newer freezing technologies we suspect they will also do well after thawing.
Our team of IVF nurses, embryologists and finance professionals take genuine satisfaction helping women who face life-threatening cancer keep their dreams of family building alive. Many cancer survivors have told us years later that freezing their eggs and embryos gave them hope during their cancer treatment and improved their outlook.
By Arthur Castelbaum, MD