Fertility Preservation (for patients diagnosed with cancer)
We offer a Fertility Preservation Service for patients
diagnosed with cancer.
As cancer treatments improve, the problems faced by survivors of
cancer and the complications of cancer therapies become more
important. Many survivors are young and are diagnosed and treated
before they have children. Malignancies and their treatment can
significantly affect the chance of a patient having a child in the
future. We therefore realise how important it is that all patients
are able to discuss the effects of treatment with a fertility
expert and explore whether they are able store eggs, sperm or
embryos before their cancer treatment, which could be used to help
them have their own biological child in the future.
Patients in this situation are faced with two devastating
diagnoses simultaneously - malignancy and infertility. Having to
face both diagnoses can cause huge distress and therefore all
patients will be offered an appointment to see one of our
counsellors if they wish.
At Saint Mary's Hospital we have stored sperm for men facing
cancer treatment for many years. Our Fertility Preservation Service
for women started in 2008. We appreciate that cancer
treatment often has to start very quickly and in these cases we aim
to see patients within one week.
Our service is led by Dr Cheryl Fitzgerald, Consultant in
Reproductive Medicine and Della Gould, Clinical Nurse Specialist,
who liaise closely with the rest of the Reproductive Medicine team
and with the teams responsible for the patient's cancer
We offer NHS treatment to eligible patients and continue to work
with health care purchasers to ensure that treatment is available
to as many patients as possible. Whilst some patients may not
be eligible for NHS funded treatment, bwe can still see these
patients for a consultation within the NHS and give advice.
After oncology treatment
Many patients present for fertility investigations after cancer
treatment. Assessment can be carried out as for any couple. If a
woman continues with a menstrual cycle after chemotherapy, we
advise her to try to conceive as soon as possible (after discussion
with the oncologists) as she has a higher risk of premature ovarian
failure. Additionally, investigation and treatment should be
carried out without unnecessary delay. However, it is important to
wait at least nine months after the completion of treatment before
assessing resultant ovarian reserve.
Our patients have found counselling extremely helpful and this
service is available to all patients referred to us. Click here for more information about our
How can I access this service?
Patients are usually referred by their GP or Cancer Specialist