Assisted reproductive techniques after fertility-sparing treatments in gynaecological cancers

Hum Reprod Update. 2016 Apr;22(3):281-305. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmv066. Epub 2016 Jan 12.


Background: The trend toward late childbearing has made fertility preservation a major issue for women who face gynecological cancer. New techniques in assisted reproductive medicine enable conception after primary treatment of these cancers. Here, we aimed to review the efficacy and safety of assisted reproductive techniques (ART) after fertility-preserving treatment of gynaecological cancers.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review of both prospective and retrospective studies in the PubMed, EMBASE, CENTRAL and SciSearch databases. In the retrieved studies, we evaluated live births, clinical pregnancies, overall survival and disease-free survival.

Results: We identified many prospective and retrospective studies on this topic, but no relevant randomized clinical trials. Fertility-sparing treatments with safe oncological outcomes are feasible in endometrial, cervical and ovarian cancer cases. After cancer treatment, ART seem safe and show variable obstetrical outcomes.

Conclusions: After fertility-preserving treatment for gynaecological cancers, ART can enable pregnancy to be achieved with apparent oncological safety. The success of such procedures should directly impact clinical practice and management of those patients who require fertility-sparing treatment.

Keywords: assisted reproductive techniques; cervical cancer; endometrial cancer; fertility preservation; fertility sparing; gynaecological cancer; oncological safety; ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation / methods*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted* / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies