Oocyte cryopreservation as a fertility preservation measure for cancer patients

Reprod Biomed Online. 2011 Sep;23(3):323-33. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2010.11.011. Epub 2010 Nov 24.


Advances in cancer treatment have allowed women to live longer, fuller lives. However, gonadotoxic therapies used to effect cancer 'cures' often significantly impair a woman's reproductive potential. Thus, in accordance with improved survival rates,there is an increase in demand for fertility preservation. Initially, fertility preservation was limited to embryo cryopreservation;therefore, the number of patients enrolling was relatively low. Recently, substantial improvements have increased available options, specifically oocyte cryopreservation, thereby expanding and altering the make-up of the patient population under going treatment for fertility preservation. Patient diversity requires the treating physician(s) to be cognizant of issues specific to cancer type and stage. Furthermore, patients often have comorbidities which must be attended to and addressed. Although not all patients will be candidates for, or will elect to pursue, fertility preservation, all should receive counselling regarding their options. This practice will ensure that the reproductive rights of those patients facing impending sterility are maintained. Here, fertility preservation protocols, practices and special considerations, categorized by most frequently encountered cancer types, are reviewed to guide reproductive endocrinologists in the management of fertility preservation in such patients. The formation of a multidisciplinary patient-structured team will ensure a successful, yet safe, fertility-preservation outcome .

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cryopreservation*
  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / complications*
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Oocytes*