The Fertility Preservation Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center is established to provide the service for cancer patients who desire to preserve fertility before gonadotoxic cancer treatment. This is the first Fertility Preservation Program in the region and perhaps the third in the US.
Aggressive cancer treatment can cause gonadal failure. Where the risk of gonadal failure is high with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, it is wise to attempt to safeguard the fertility before treatment. To date, there are a few options for fertility preservation including sperm banking for men, GnRHa, oophoropexy, freezing of embryos, oocytes, and ovarian tissue for women, but most of theses options except sperm and embryo cryobanking are still experimental.
Cryopreservation of embryos is a well established technique, but it cannot be an option for the patient who cannot delay cancer treatment or who does not have a partner. The technology of oocyte freezing has been improved in the last 2-3 years, and the live birth rate per transfer after 2005 is above 30% in some centers. A new strategy, involving transplantation of stored ovarian tissue, may be effective for reinstating fertility as well as restoring hormonal function for women facing premature ovarian failure. We are one of the few centers in the world that has expertise and experience in ovarian cryopreservation and transplantation.
Advances in cancer treatment resulted in increased long term cancer survivors. Fertility is the major concern for the young concer survivors. Therefore, awareness of the existence of fertility preservation options may be helpful for women and children with cancer.