Purpose: To update guidance for health care providers about fertility preservation for adults and children with cancer.
Methods: A systematic review of the literature published from March 2006 through January 2013 was completed using MEDLINE and the Cochrane Collaboration Library. An Update Panel reviewed the evidence and updated the recommendation language.
Results: There were 222 new publications that met inclusion criteria. A majority were observational studies, cohort studies, and case series or reports, with few randomized clinical trials. After review of the new evidence, the Update Panel concluded that no major, substantive revisions to the 2006 American Society of Clinical Oncology recommendations were warranted, but clarifications were added.
Recommendations: As part of education and informed consent before cancer therapy, health care providers (including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gynecologic oncologists, urologists, hematologists, pediatric oncologists, and surgeons) should address the possibility of infertility with patients treated during their reproductive years (or with parents or guardians of children) and be prepared to discuss fertility preservation options and/or to refer all potential patients to appropriate reproductive specialists. Although patients may be focused initially on their cancer diagnosis, the Update Panel encourages providers to advise patients regarding potential threats to fertility as early as possible in the treatment process so as to allow for the widest array of options for fertility preservation. The discussion should be documented. Sperm and embryo cryopreservation as well as oocyte cryopreservation are considered standard practice and are widely available. Other fertility preservation methods should be considered investigational and should be performed by providers with the necessary expertise.