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27

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017

What do I need to know about

fertility?

Fertility preservation is all about keeping your options

open, whether you know you want to have children

later in life or aren’t really sure at the moment.

Reproductive specialists and the members of an

oncofertility team can help you sort through what may

work for you.

Depending on the type of cancer you have and the

specialists available in your area, your oncofertility

team may include:

††

Your oncologist

who should start the

conversation about cancer-related infertility

and help you understand your risks.

††

A nurse navigator

or case manager who

will help you navigate the referral process,

coordinate the various specialists involved in

your care, and help deal with your insurance.

††

An endocrinologist/reproductive specialist

who specializes in fertility and cancer and can

explain your fertility preservation options—

including how they are done, success rates,

timing, and costs. This specialist will carry out

the fertility-sparing procedure.

††

A genetics counselor

who can assess your

risk of passing on genetic abnormalities to

your children. This is usually done within the 2

months of starting treatment.

††

A gynecologist (for women) or urologist

(for men)

to assess your risk of infertility and

guide you in addressing your fertility needs.

††

A gynecologic oncologist (for women)

who

specializes in female cancers. This is usually

a surgeon and may be the one to perform

fertility-sparing surgery, if needed.

††

A family-planning specialist

who can offer

information about many different options for

becoming a parent.

††

An adoption professional

who can provide

information and counseling on the process

of becoming an adoptive parent. This can

include criteria, timing, and costs.

††

A social worker or mental health counselor

who can give emotional support and

counseling as you consider your fertility

options.

Before you make a decision about how—or if—to

preserve your fertility, you will need to think about

what you need the most when it comes to becoming

a parent. If you’re in a serious relationship, it may

help to involve your partner in this discussion. If

you’re younger and have never given much thought to

having kids, you may want to talk with your parents or

caregivers. Crucial questions to consider include:

††

Have you always wanted children?

††

How many children do you want to have? And

when?

††

How do you feel about adoption?

††

How would you feel about using donor sperm

or donor embryos?

††

How would you feel about having a surrogate

bear your child?

††

Do you have any religious or moral concerns

about technologies such as IVF

(i

n

v

itro

f

ertilization) or embryo transplantation?

You will also want to think about finances. All fertility

preservation methods have an out-of-pocket cost, and

many treatments are still being studied. You’ll need

to check with your insurance company about what

they will cover.

Fortunately, the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s Fertility

section has an information guide on Fertility &

Family Planning. It addresses things like money and

insurance. It also offers financial assistance for fertility

medication and other services for freezing embryos,

eggs, and sperm. Visit

https://www.livestrong.org/we- can-help/livestrong-fertility#

to learn more.

3

Preparing for the future

What do I need to know about fertility?