Preserving hope: Fertility options for ovarian cancer patients - Hindustan Times
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Preserving hope: Fertility options for ovarian cancer patients

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jun 06, 2024 05:30 PM IST

Chemotherapy can impact a woman's reproductive health, compromising her capacity to conceive in future. Here are fertility options for ovarian cancer patients

It is critical to raise awareness on the multiple problems that women deal with when fighting the devastating disease of ovarian cancer where aside from the physical and emotional toll, ovarian cancer therapy frequently overlaps with another very personal issue: conception. Chemotherapy, a cornerstone of cancer treatment, can have a significant influence on a woman's reproductive health, compromising her capacity to conceive in the future.

Preserving hope: Fertility options for ovarian cancer patients (Photo by Twitter/Dreadful45)
Preserving hope: Fertility options for ovarian cancer patients (Photo by Twitter/Dreadful45)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Bharati Dhorepatil, Consultant Infertility Expert at NOVA IVF Fertility in Pune, assured, “Despite these hurdles, there remains a ray of hope: fertility preservation via treatments such as egg freezing and assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Chemotherapy, while effective in combating cancer cells, is indiscriminate in its effects, frequently harming good cells alongside malignant ones.”

She revealed, “For ovarian cancer patients, this might entail permanent harm to their ovarian reserve, resulting in infertility or early menopause. Understandably, the dread of losing the ability to procreate may exacerbate an already difficult struggle with cancer. Fortunately, advances in reproductive medicine provide practical options. Egg freezing, a method in which a woman's eggs are extracted, frozen, and kept for later use, has emerged as an effective choice for cancer patients. Women who save their eggs before having chemotherapy can protect their fertility and maintain the chance of biological parenthood after treatment.”

Dr Bharati Dhorepatil added, “Furthermore, for individuals who have already completed cancer treatment or are unable to conceive naturally owing to ovarian damage, IVF offers another path to parenting. IVF involves fertilizing eggs with sperm outside the body and implanting the resultant embryo into the uterus, therefore avoiding the reproductive problems associated with cancer therapy. Aside from the medical benefits, these fertility preservation methods provide psychological support to women suffering ovarian cancer. In the face of the uncertainty of cancer treatment, they provide a light of hope by giving them choice over their reproductive health.”

She concluded, “Let us not only increase awareness about the illness, but also push for comprehensive care that includes fertility preservation as an essential component of cancer therapy. Every woman deserves the opportunity to battle cancer without giving up her desire for parenthood, and with ongoing research and action, we can work toward a future in which that potential is a reality for everyone.”

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