Present and future fertility preservation strategies for female cancer patients

Elena S. Georgescu, Jeffrey M. Goldberg, Stefan S. Du Plessis, Ashok Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


As survival rates with cancer treatment are steadily increasing, many women are now facing sterility due to treatment induced ovarian failure. This review will attempt to summarize the options for trying to preserve fertility in these patients. The optimal approach depends on the type of cancer, the type of treatment (e.g., radiation and/or chemotherapy), time available till onset of treatment, patient's age, and whether the patient has a partner. Ovarian transposition remains the standard of care for women undergoing pelvic radiation, although it has been suggested that it may be combined with ovarian tissue cryopreservation. For patients about to receive chemotherapy or whole body radiation, in vitro fertilization (IVF) with embryo cryopreservation is a well established treatment with a good success rate. However, it requires delaying cancer treatment for 2 to 4 weeks and a partner or willingness to use donor sperm. When these criteria cannot be met, more experimental options include oocyte cryopreservation for later IVF and ovarian tissue cryopreservation. The tissue may be autotransplanted back to the pelvis, when the patient is in remission, to attempt spontaneous conception or subcutaneously for easy access of follicle aspiration for IVF. Alternatively, it may be xenografted to immunocompromised mice to induce follicle maturation in preparation for retrieval for IVF. Emerging treatment options for fertility preservation include medication to prevent chemotherapyinduced oocyte damage and oocyte construction from somatic cell nuclei. IVF with donor oocyte remains an established option with a very high success rate for those who fail to conceive with the above measures or who elect not to avail themselves to experimental procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-732
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrical and Gynecological Survey
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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