Learn more about Pediatric Fertility Preservation or visit savemyfertility.org.
What is The Program for Fertility Preservation?
Treatments for cancer and other serious diseases often cause a loss of fertility. To help women who want to have children after treatment, Women & Infants has created the Program for Fertility Preservation, part of the hospital’s Center for Reproduction and Infertility.
Why does chemotherapy treatment threaten fertility?
From birth, the ovary contains all of the eggs that a woman will ever make. In order to ovulate and be fertilized, these eggs undergo a process of maturation. Because chemotherapy targets dividing cells, the medications may attack these dividing eggs’ cells. Reducing the number of eggs that you have may make it harder for you to become pregnant. It may also cause early menopause. The likelihood that this will happen depends on your age, the type of chemotherapy that you will be receiving, the amount of time you will be treated, and your medical history.
The Fertility Preservation Team will carefully review your history and treatment plan with you and discuss the chances that your treatment will cause infertility or menopause.
Why does radiation threaten fertility?
Like chemotherapy, radiation treatment destroys dividing cells. Therefore, if your ovaries are in the field that your oncologist is targeting, the eggs in your ovaries can be damaged by the radiation therapy.
What options are available to preserve my fertility?
The most common technique to preserve fertility is to freeze tissues to be used when your treatment is over. Tissues that can be frozen include the ovary, eggs removed from the ovary, and embryos that are created with eggs and sperm in the laboratory. The decision to freeze tissue depends on many things including your disease, the type of treatments that you will have, and the amount of time before treatment begins.
In certain instances, when radiation treatment is being used, you doctor may be able to protect your ovaries by surgically moving them to a different place in your abdomen. This procedure, called ovarian transposition, is done in the operating room using a video camera (laparoscopy). Not every patient getting radiation treatment is a candidate for this procedure.
Your doctor may also recommend that you use medications to protect your ovaries. The physicians and support staff at the Program for Fertility Preservation will discuss the best options for your situation. You will also have the opportunity to speak with a psychologist and/or social worker to help you make the decision.
Why Women & Infants’ Program for Fertility Preservation?
The Fertility Preservation team at Women & Infants Hospital is a highly specialized group of doctors, nurses and embryologists. We are dedicated to making sure that you have the information and support you need to make a decision about your fertility. We are a member of the Oncofertility Network, and we are experts in the surgical and laboratory techniques needed to help preserve your fertility. Our goal is to begin treatment quickly and achieve success with plans designed personally for each patient.
Where are we located?
The Program for Fertility Preservation is located in offices of the Center for Reproduction and Infertility on the Women & Infants’ campus in Providence, Rhode Island. Our phone number is 401-453-7500.
The physicians of Women & Infants’ Center for Reproduction and Infertility see patients in Providence; at the Women & Infants’ Medical Office Buildings in East Greenwich, South Kingstown, and Woonsocket, RI; in Fall River, Foxboro, and Swansea, MA; and at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA.
What insurance do we accept?
The Center accepts most major insurance plans, including:
• Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Massachusetts
• Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England
• United Health Care
• Tufts Health Plan
Many of the services that we provide are not covered by insurance. We have onsite financial and insurance coordinators to help determine your specific plan participation and eligibility.