Fertility Assistance Options for Cancer Patients
Fertility after cancer and having a baby after cancer can be a challenge. Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery often harm the reproductive organs which can affect your fertility. However, there are a few options for women and men to create a family even after cancer.
Fertility Assistance Before and After Cancer Treatment
If you are expecting to undergo cancer treatment, early fertility preservation is a recommended path before starting your treatment. The process of fertility preservation is simply freezing your healthy eggs or sperm for later use.
After freezing your eggs or sperm, you have the ability to use them for many years in the future. This is a very common way for cancer survivors to start a family. Learn more about fertility preservation here.
Below are some of the fertility treatments you may use after cancer treatment to get pregnant.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF treatment is the process of collecting a woman's eggs and fertilizing them with sperm in the laboratory. Once an embryo is formed, a physician will place it into the woman's body to grow into a baby. For this procedure to be successful, you will need a healthy ovarian reserve or sperm count after your cancer treatment. You may also use any eggs or sperm that you have preserved.
Frozen Donor Eggs or Donor Sperm
If you were unable to store your eggs or sperm before your cancer treatment, you have the option of using donor eggs or donor sperm. Healthy men and women who want to help others have the opportunity to have a family generously donate their sperm or eggs. You can find donors who are Non-ID Release (formerly anonymous) or ID Release (formerly non-anonymous). Read the difference between Non-ID Release and ID Release Donors here.
Using donor eggs or sperm gives the couple the opportunity to use the other partner's sperm or eggs so that the child can be genetically related to at least one parent.
Surrogacy or Gestational Carrier
Some women are unable able to carry a pregnancy to term. There are many reasons why this can occur. A gestational carrier or surrogate, is when a woman is chosen to carry a baby. Typically surrogates uses donor eggs and/or IVF to get pregnant. In this process the child will not be biologically related to the birth mother. The process involves finding a surrogate, completing legal contracts, and then transferring an embryo via IVF. Typically, one parent will be genetically related to the child.
With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own eggs and the baby biologically the child of the surrogate. However, with new surrogacy laws this is now an uncommon practice and most places require you to use a gestational carrier.
If you are experiencing infertility after cancer treatment and would like to use Cryos on your path to starting a family, call us at (407) 203-1175 to speak with one of our friendly Customer Care Coordinators. They will answer all your questions about fertility preservation and speak about your options before you begin cancer treatment. A live online chat system is also available on our website.
Cryos is happy to help and be a resource for you to have the family of your dreams.