Oncofertility treatment options in India
People who have undergone cancer treatment processes such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are often at risk of infertility. In women’s cases, cancer treatments can cause damage to the oocytes, lead to ovarian failure and even result in early menopause. In men, cancer treatments can adversely affect the testes leading to low sperm or testosterone production.
Oncofertility combines oncology and reproductive medicine to preserve the fertility of cancer patients and survivors. Thus, oncofertility treatment modalities enhance the chances of cancer patients and survivors to have children. An advanced IVF clinic in India will offer oncofertility treatment after cancer diagnosis and before the commencement of radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Multiple fertility preservation methods are coming under oncofertility. Some of them have been discussed here.
Egg Banking refers to the cryopreservation of the woman’s eggs before she starts the cancer treatment. Cryopreservation means storing in frozen form. The stored eggs are fertilized whenever the treatment ends. In this method, first hormonal stimulation is used to mature multiple eggs, which are then aspirated from the ovaries under ultrasound guidance. The eggs are then frozen and preserved. The process takes about 2-6 weeks to complete.
Ovarian Transposition is done if the cancer treatment includes pelvic radiation. In this method, the ovaries are physically removed from the woman’s pelvis by way of surgery. This method ensures that the ovaries are not exposed to harmful ionizing radiation when the pelvic area is subjected to radiotherapy.
Gonadotropin Agonist is a chemical that reduces the activities of testes and ovaries significantly. This chemical is injected inside the cancer patient before chemotherapy. Minimal functions of testes or ovaries due to Gonadotropin Agonist make them less susceptible to chemotherapy’s harmful effects and preserve fertility.
Embryo Banking means preserving embryos in a frozen state for future implantation in the uterus. Like egg banking, ovaries’ hormonal stimulation is carried out to mature multiple eggs that are then collected. However, in this process, the eggs are fertilized using the partner’s sperms to create embryos. These embryos are then frozen and preserved. The period of this process is 2-6 weeks.
Testicular Sperm Aspiration
Testicular Sperm Aspiration is carried out if the man cannot release sperms through normal ejaculation. In this process, sperms are extracted from the epididymis or testes by a minor surgical procedure. The sperms are then frozen and preserved for future use.
Sperm Banking is the method in which sperms are stored in the form of semen. Many semen samples are collected over a few days. The semen samples are then frozen and preserved.
Tissue Banking is when testicular tissue or ovarian cortex is surgically removed from the person’s body and preserved in frozen form. The tissue is implanted back into the body after cancer treatment and hormonally stimulated to produce sperms or eggs.
Shielding refers to the use of a lead apron over the genital or pelvic area during radiotherapy. The lead apron protects the ovaries or testes against radiation.
A clinic offering infertility treatment India, including Oncofertility treatment, must have staff and specialists with enough experience in the various modalities and the latest tools required for the same.