Breast Cancer and Fertility Options

October 10, 2011 | By: Wendy Schillings, MD, FACOG


Hello. I'm doctor, Wendy Schillings. I'm a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Pennsylvania. Today we're going to talk about a difficult subject. Sometimes women get diagnosed with cancer before they have completed their child bearing. This is very difficult for them because although they really want a family, it is very important that their cancer gets treated in a timely fashion. Their are options for them.

The most common option is to perform in-vitro fertilization, where we obtain the woman's eggs. Hopefully there is a partner available because the most tried and true method is to then fertilize these eggs with the partner's sperm, grow the embryos until they are able to be frozen. Once they are frozen, we can use them in the future,once we know everything is healthy from your cancer. However sometimes women do not have partners available at the time. Donor sperm can be used for this but many women would like their eggs to be used with a future partner. Oocyte Vitrification is a newer method, which we can freeze the eggs for future use with their partner's sperm.

Hopefully you will have enough time to complete these procedures. For patients who have breast cancer, we can using treatments that lower their estrogen levels during the simulation process. If you find yourself in this situation, I would be happy to work with your oncologist to complete this procedures in a timely fashion. Thank you.