Life isn’t the same once you’re diagnosed with cancer. You’re likely to undergo emotional distress and several behavioural changes. While fertility preservation for the future may not be the first consideration, it is important to be aware that some cancer treatments can cause infertility.
A notable authority in IVF, ART and Clinical Embryology, Dr Goral Gandhi says, “Egg freezing is one of the most highly recommended fertility preservation options for cancer patients. With the help of this technique, cancer patients can have a normal family and a good quality of life, once they are cured of their disease. “
Impact of cancer on fertility
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are among the treatment options for many types of cancers. Goral Gandhi, Founder and Scientific Director at Indo Nippon IVF, Mumbai , explains that the surgeries and therapies during the cancer treatment can cause damage to eggs, ovarian follicles or hormone-producing glands that are crucial for conception and healthy pregnancies.
In addition to these, the Mumbai-based embryologist adds that chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also cause premature menopause, further affecting the fertility of cancer patients and survivors.
What is egg freezing?
Dr. Goral Gandhi, Consulting Embryologist, and a pioneer in egg freezing techniques in India, explains it as a process of medically freezing and preserving eggs so they can be used in future. After the patient is cured of cancer, the eggs can be thawed and used to make the patient pregnant. The eggs are preserved by using the latest flash-freezing process known as vitrification.
Why opt for egg freezing?
Predicting the fertility potential after cancer treatments is difficult. Therefore, it becomes important to consider fertility preservation possibilities before starting the treatment. Goral Gandhi says that as per research, egg freezing has been considered as one of the most useful and effective preservation methods available to cancer patients. This method of freezing healthy eggs to keep them available for future can act as a barricade against damaged fertility.
Egg freezing considerations for cancer patients
Ideally, the procedure of egg freezing for cancer patients is done before the treatments for cancer (like chemotherapy, radiation therapy or fertility-impacting surgeries) begin. As a part of major concern by many patients, Dr. Goral Gandhi, Mumbai-based IVF practitioner, explains that it’s important to keep in mind that it can take between two to six weeks to retrieve eggs for freezing.
There is never a certainty that any fertility treatment will be successful. However, as recorded worldwide, success rates for egg cryopreservation have steadily risen in recent years, owing to improvements in egg retrieval, egg freezing, and egg thawing techniques. Dr. Goral Gandhi, who has trained over 500 embryologists from across the globe in the process of egg freezing explains, “Many women have successfully had children with frozen eggs, and the rates of success are similar to the success rates with fresh eggs of that particular age group”.