Ohio’s Most Comprehensive Cancer Care Program
At University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s, we always treat the whole patient – and we approach cancer treatment with comprehensive and lifelong care in mind. When your child is diagnosed with any type of pediatric cancer, their fertility may not be top of mind. Yet many cancer-fighting treatments can also harm healthy tissue and may cause long-term side effects, including possible infertility.
At the beginning stages of care, we meet with young adult patients and the parents of young children to discuss potential fertility issues. We review all the fertility preservation options available, which help protect the patient’s ability to one day start a family of their own. Our patients also have access to critical clinical trials and the latest advances in fertility preservation.
Fertility Counseling and Expertise for Every Patient
Fertility preservation is a component of cancer care from the day of diagnosis. Regardless of the child’s age, our cancer care team discusses the possibilities with each patient and family.
Fertility preservation is a personal choice. Every patient, or their family, has a fertility consult to discuss what to expect and what techniques are available. Our fertility counselors are trained to help patients and families determine their personal values. Some families may choose to delay a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, for example, to allow time to harvest their child’s eggs. Others may choose to just focus on the cancer treatment. Whatever your personal decision, we have the specialists on hand to help with the decision-making process and facilitate any fertility preservation procedures.
Innovative and Experimental Fertility Preservation Options
Because we are committed to ongoing research, our teams are at the forefront of fertility preservation. The options and techniques we offer include:
- Gonadotropin Agonists (Hormone Therapy): This technique uses hormones to suppress the function of the ovaries before chemotherapy. This can help protect the ovaries from chemo-related side effects or damage.
- Oocyte (Egg) or Embryo Cryopreservation: This is a more common option for teens and young adult women. Hormones are administered to help the ovaries mature their eggs. Then gg harvesting allows frozen eggs to be saved for future use.
- Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation: With this experimental and innovative procedure, an ovary is surgically removed and frozen. If or when the patient is ready to have children, the ovary can be implemented back into the body. Alternatively, the eggs can be matured in the ovary and later fertilized for pregnancy.
- Sperm Cryopreservation: This procedure is an option for teen or young adult males. The sperm is collected and frozen. Unlike some other techniques, sperm cryopreservation is an established and proven therapy that’s been used for decades.
- Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE): This technique uses a surgical procedure to collect testicular tissue and extract sperm cells. These cells can be preserved for future use.
- Testicular Tissue Cryopreservation: This new and innovative option can help with fertility preservation in pre-pubescent males who are not yet producing sperm. A portion of the testicle tissue is surgically collected and frozen for future use.
As survival rates for children with cancer increase, the ability to provide lifelong care beyond just medically treating their condition becomes even more important. Our team believes strongly in helping families understand long-term fertility implications. We are committed to advancing fertility preservation options for our patients.