Fertility preservation in women with malignant tumors and gonadotoxic treatments

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2012 Mar;109(12):220-6. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2012.0220. Epub 2012 Mar 23.


Background: Because of improved survival rates and recent advances in reproductive medicine, fertility preservation methods in women of reproductive age with malignant or autoimmune diseases have risen in importance.

Methods: Selective literature review based on the authors' clinical and scientific experience.

Results: Fertility-preserving techniques are recommended for all girls and women up to age 40 who are at high risk of ovarian failure. As these techniques are complex, special expertise in counseling and treatment is needed; in the German-speaking countries, such expertise is available in centers belonging to the FertiPROTEKT network (www.fertiprotekt.eu). Most of these techniques carry a very low risk and can be performed in two weeks or less. Success rates depend on the patient's age, the experience of the center, and the particular technique used. The highest attainable likelihood of pregnancy after the use of a combination of cryopreservation techniques is estimated at 40% to 50%. Fertility preservation is generally not covered by health insurance; its cost ranges from several hundred to several thousand euros.

Conclusion: Girls and women up to age 40 who are about to undergo gonadotoxic treatment should be counseled about the availability of fertility-preserving techniques and, if appropriate, should be treated with such techniques in a specialized center.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation / methods*
  • Fertility Preservation / trends*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Female / rehabilitation*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / complications*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / complications*