Installing oncofertility programs for common cancers in limited resource settings (Repro-Can-OPEN Study): An extrapolation during the global crisis of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2020 Jul;37(7):1567-1577. doi: 10.1007/s10815-020-01821-7. Epub 2020 Jun 27.


Purpose: The state of limited resource settings that Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created globally should be taken seriously into account especially in healthcare sector. In oncofertility, patients should receive their fertility preservation treatments urgently even in limited resource settings before initiation of anticancer therapy. Therefore, it is very crucial to learn more about oncofertility practice in limited resource settings such as in developing countries that suffer often from shortage of healthcare services provided to young patients with cancer.

Methods: As an extrapolation during the global crisis of COVID-19 pandemic, we surveyed oncofertility centers from 14 developing countries (Egypt, Tunisia, Brazil, Peru, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Nigeria, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and India). Survey questionnaire included questions on the availability and degree of utilization of fertility preservation options in case of childhood cancer, breast cancer, and blood cancer.

Results: All surveyed centers responded to all questions. Responses and their calculated oncofertility scores showed different domestic standards for oncofertility practice in case of childhood cancer, breast cancer, and blood cancer in the developing countries under limited resource settings.

Conclusions: Medical practice in limited resource settings has become a critical topic especially after the global crisis of COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding the resources necessary to provide oncofertility treatments is important until the current COVID-19 pandemic resolves. Lessons learned will be valuable to future potential worldwide disruptions due to infectious diseases or other global crises.

Keywords: COVID-19; cancer; limited resource settings; oncofertility; pandemic.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation / economics
  • Fertility Preservation / methods*
  • Fertility Preservation / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasms / virology
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires