Cancer Treatment & Infertility

33 year old Cynthia Cardenas- Cobb had her baby Daniella about eleven months ago. She says she wanted another baby, but cancer got in the way. Hodgkins Lymphoma. Doctors told her a side effect of treatment may mean Daniella would be an only child. But Cynthia knew there had to be more than only one answer. And as it turned out, she had two options to hopefully retain her fertility. One option was to freeze her eggs, the other involved a series of shots.

" Essentially this shot puts your body into a menopausal state so it makes your ovaries dormant so that they are not active tissue and not as affected by the chemotherapy."

Fertility specialists say cancer treatment and infertility affect both men and women equally. Chemotherapy, radiation treatment and surgery can alter a patient's future plans for children. But because those treatments can be successful, those same specialists are being brought in at the time of diagnosis to help patients take steps now, to keep their child bearing options open.

Dr. Scott W/hitten is an infertility specialist with the Nevada Center for Reproductive Medicine. He says the trend is becoming more common with advances in both Oncology and Reproductive Medicine.

" I'm not sure it's the first thing that is discussed obviously from an Oncologists stand point, the immediate response to the patient is how do I treat them to cure them of the cancer and we would like them to think also how are they going to be after the cancer is treated and they are cured. IF they have plans to have a family and reproduce that we want to make sure they are given that opportunity."

Dr. Whitten says those fertility measures need to be taken just before cancer treatment begins. And for patients who need financial help to pay for it, Dr. Whitten says there are services available.

For more information on those services and the Nevada Center for Reproductive Medicine, go to Hot Topics.