Physician perceptions and practice patterns regarding fertility preservation in hematopoietic cell transplant recipients

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2013 Aug;48(8):1091-7. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2013.13. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


Physician practice variation may be a barrier to informing hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients about fertility preservation (FP) options. We surveyed HCT physicians in the United States to evaluate FP knowledge, practices, perceptions and barriers. Of the 1035 physicians invited, 185 completed a 29-item web-survey. Most respondents demonstrated knowledge of FP issues and discussed and felt comfortable discussing FP. However, only 55% referred patients to an infertility specialist. Most did not provide educational materials to patients and only 35% felt that available materials were relevant for HCT. Notable barriers to discussing FP included perception that patients were too ill to delay transplant (63%), patients were already infertile from prior therapy (92%) and time constraints (41%). Pediatric HCT physicians and physicians with access to an infertility specialist were more likely to discuss FP and to discuss FP even when prognosis was poor. On analyses that considered physician demographics, knowledge and perceptions as predictors of referral for FP, access to an infertility specialist and belief that patients were interested in FP were observed to be significant. We highlight variation in HCT physician perceptions and practices regarding FP. Physicians are generally interested in discussing fertility issues with their patients but lack educational materials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation / methods*
  • Fertility Preservation / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infertility / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States