Medical Indications for Fertility Preservation
Over 50,000 reproductive-aged women are diagnosed with cancer annually in the United States. Women who are diagnosed with malignancies that will require chemotherapeutic and/ or radiation treatments may consider egg or embryo freezing to preserve their fertility. Some chemotherapeutic and radiation regimens are toxic to ovaries and can induce premature ovarian failure. Therefore, it is important that the eggs are harvested and stored before any cancer treatments are initiated if time permits and the oncologists approve. In the setting of a newly-diagnosed cancer, eggs are frozen as a medical emergency to minimize any delay of cancer treatments.
Other examples of medical indications to preserve a woman’s fertility by freezing eggs or embryos (fertilized with either their partner’s sperm or their donor’s sperm) include women who need to undergo surgery to remove benign cysts on their ovaries, who have a strong family history of premature ovarian failure (early menopause), who are carriers for cancer genes and will electively remove their ovaries to minimize their risks of cancer, and who need to take medication that are known to be toxic to ovaries.