Moffitt Cancer Center believes you are a survivor from the first day of diagnosis. Having cancer may force patients to think about what they want in the future and quality of life after cancer. For some people, this includes raising a family.
Since cancer treatments may impact a patient’s ability to have children, it is important to think about your risk for becoming sterile or infertile due to your treatment. Some types of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgeries may damage sperm, eggs and reproductive organs making it difficult or impossible to have a biological child.
Your first few appointments at Moffitt may be overwhelming but it is important to think about your desire for children in the future. Sometimes people who are newly diagnosed only want to focus on their cancer treatment, and this is understandable, however, it is important to think about your wishes for the future because there may be options to preserve your fertility. Ideally, discussions about preserving fertility should take place before a patient begins cancer treatment, when the most options are available. Talking to a reproductive specialist will help you learn what your options are.
Regardless of a patient’s choice to preserve fertility or not, it is important for patients to have all the knowledge and opportunity to make an informed decision, even if they are not thinking about future children right now. If you have completed your treatment and did not get to discuss options with a reproductive specialist, a consultation may still be beneficial.
Effect on Females
Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Cancer therapy may cause damage to those eggs or may deplete the supply sooner than expected causing premature ovarian failure, premature menopause or other damage to the reproductive system.
Effect on Males
Cancer therapy can damage the ability to make sperm, as well as the sperm itself.
Options for Fertility Preservation
Established options for fertility preservation include:
- Sperm banking
- Embryo cryopreservation (freezing)
- Oocyte (egg) cryopreservation
Experimental options include:
- Ovarian tissue cryopreservation
- Testicular tissue freezing
- Donor-assisted reproduction (donor eggs, sperm and embryos)
- Child-free living
Scheduling an Appointment
It is important to discuss the risks and side effects of treatment with a member of your care team before therapy begins. Let your doctor or nurse know if you want to discuss reproductive issues or fertility preservation. During a fertility consultation, the specialist will review your medical history and treatment plan, explain possible risks of treatment to your fertility, discuss your future fertility concerns and explore your options for building a family.
A member of your medical team can make an appointment for you to meet with our fertility specialist but no referral is necessary. To make an appointment call the University of South Florida’s Fertility Preservation Clinic directly at 813-974-1192. Any voicemails left on this line will be returned within 24 hours. USF Fertility Specialists also visit Moffitt monthly, and if time is not a concern, you may choose to set up your consultation with a specialist at Moffitt.
To Schedule an Appointment Directly:
USF Center for Fertility Preservation
2 Tampa General Circle, Tampa, FL 33606
*Please note: You must be an existing patient of Moffitt Cancer Center to be seen at the gynecological clinic