Setting up a fertility preservation programme
By Stern C, Agresta F.
With improved survival rates from cancer, young people can expect to lead a normal life, including having their own children. However, cancer or other serious disease itself, and more often its treatment, often leads to a significant reduction in fertility or premature gonadal insufficiency. There is increasing acknowledgement for the importance of fertility preservation (FP) options to be discussed and offered to young people whose fertility is at risk, ideally before the gonadotoxic therapy begins. FP options currently include oocyte, embryo and ovarian tissue cryopreservation; ovarian protection during chemotherapy and semen, sperm and testicular tissue cryopreservation. A multidisciplinary team consisting of committed and enthusiastic doctors, scientists, nurses, counsellors, administrators and researchers is required to provide a holistic FP service with rapid response capacity for acute consultation and procedures and a robust system for long-term follow-up. This speciality is developing rapidly with exciting scientific advances that have relevance for the whole spectrum of reproductive medicine