Oncofertility: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Barriers Among Indian Oncologists and Gynecologists

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2021 Feb;10(1):71-77. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2020.0034. Epub 2020 May 22.

Abstract

Purpose: Recommendations from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) emphasize the critical need to understand current trends in fertility preservation (FP) among the two sets of primary health care providers involved in oncofertility: the oncologists and the gynecologists. This study is aimed at understanding the health care providers' knowledge, attitudes, and barriers in oncofertility across India. Methods: An 18-item oncofertility survey was designed and directed to 77 oncologists and 214 gynecologists across India. The responses were analyzed by using descriptive statistical methods, and the oncofertility trends between the two groups were studied. Results: The total response rate was 34%, with 49 of 214 oncologists (23%) and 49 of 77 gynecologists (64%) participating in the survey. The awareness of ASCO FP guidelines among oncologists and gynecologists was 53% and 59.5%, respectively. About 48% of oncologists felt knowledgeable about sperm banking, whereas 52% knew about oocyte freezing but not about other options. On the other hand, among gynecologists, 38% reported inadequate knowledge of testicular or ovarian tissue cryopreservation. About 85% of oncologists reported routine referral of cancer diagnosed patients for FP, whereas 75% of gynecologists reported routine FP discussion with patients. Health care providers from both groups perceived the major barriers in oncofertility to be, "financial burden on the patient" (73%-86%) and, "lack of patient awareness" (71%-79.5%). Conclusion: Effective collaboration between oncologists and gynecologists is essential to establish a successful FP program. Economic burden on the patient and lack of patient and physician awareness are limiting factors that need to be overcome.

Keywords: fertility preservation; gynecologists; oncofertility; oncologists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't