Frozen Hope: Fertility Preservation for Women With Cancer

Authors

  • Gwendolyn P. Quinn PhD,

    Corresponding author
      Moffitt Cancer Center - USF Health Outcomes, 12902 Magnolia Drive, MRC CANCONT, Tampa, FL 33612. E-mail: gwen.quinn@moffitt.org
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    • Gwendolyn P. Quinn, PhD, is an associate member of the Moffitt Cancer Center and an associate professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, FL. She is also director of the Moffitt Fertility Preservation Research Group, a consortia of medical and behavioral researchers who explore the psychosocial aspects of reproductive health in cancer patients of childbearing age.

  • Susan T. Vadaparampil MPH, PhD,

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    • Susan T. Vadaparampil, PhD, MPH, is an associate member of the Moffitt Cancer Center and an associate professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, FL. She is also co-director of the Moffitt Fertility Preservation Research Group.

  • Paul B. Jacobsen PhD,

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    • Paul B. Jacobsen, PhD, is member and program leader of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Program at the Moffitt Cancer Center and professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. He is also a member of the Moffitt Fertility Preservation Research Group.

  • Caprice Knapp PhD,

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    • Caprice Knapp, PhD, is an assistant professor in the health policy program at the University of Florida and a member of the Moffitt Fertility Preservation Research Group.

  • David L. Keefe MD,

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    • David L. Keefe, MD, is professor and chair of the University of South Florida's College of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and director of the University of South Florida IVF and Reproductive Endocrinology Clinic.

  • Geri E. Bell BS,

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    • Geri E. Bell, BS, is a member of Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), a volunteer and board member of the American Cancer Society, South Palm Beach, FL, and an advocate for women with breast cancer.

  • Moffitt Fertility Preservation Group


Moffitt Cancer Center - USF Health Outcomes, 12902 Magnolia Drive, MRC CANCONT, Tampa, FL 33612. E-mail: gwen.quinn@moffitt.org

Abstract

Young women diagnosed with cancer have the option of preserving their fertility by using assisted reproductive technology (ART) techniques prior to undergoing cancer treatment. This article presents a composite case of a young woman with cancer who had many unanswered emotional and ethical questions about her future as a parent. Fertility preservation techniques, including preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), and related patient education are described. Current literature regarding reproductive counseling for cancer survivors is reviewed. Resources for providing psychosocial support for decisions about fertility preservation are lagging behind the rapid pace of scientific advancements in cancer treatment and ART. As more young women are surviving cancer and taking steps to preserve fertility, there is great need for the provision of psychologic support services and the establishment of ethical guidelines to aid them on this path. Women's health care providers can provide support to cancer survivors facing fertility and parenting issues by becoming knowledgeable about the long-term aspects of decision making and developing educational materials and guidelines for these patients.

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