Thanks to cryopreservation, you can become a parent even after cancer treatment


Cancer treatment is essential for many cancer patients to preserve their life and health. However, this treatment can have side effects that include impaired or complete loss of fertility. Fortunately, however, there are now options to preserve your fertility even if you are facing cancer treatment. In the past, cancers were often treated with surgery.

But nowadays, the disease is mainly treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which have a negative effect on patients' fertility. The treatment uses drugs that destroy the healthy cells along with the cancerous ones. Cancer treatment can therefore lead to temporary or even complete loss of fertility.

How to preserve fertility before cancer treatment?

Protecting male fertility

The most effective method to preserve male fertility is sperm cryopreservation, i.e. freezing and long-term preservation of sperm before cancer treatment. It is important that the cancer treatment centre cooperates with the assisted reproduction centre to ensure the freezing of the sperm and the necessary care in the future. Approximately 2 to 3 years after the end of cancer treatment, sperm production is restored in approximately 20 to 50% of patients. Important factors for restoration of fertility include the quality of sperm before treatment, the type of malignancy (malignant - malignant testicular tumours have the worst prognosis) and the treatment protocol itself.

Restoration of spermatogenesis (sperm production) takes time, so it is recommended to perform the examination after approximately one year of complete disappearance of the symptoms of the disease. Sexual abstinence for 2-7 days is required prior to sample collection. 
If the spermiogram test shows normal values, it is possible to achieve pregnancy through sexual intercourse. If the sperm count and movement is low, then it is advisable to use one of the assisted reproduction methods.

Protection of female fertility

For women, the cryopreservation process is a little more demanding, taking about a month or two. An initial examination and consultation is followed by hormonal stimulation of the ovaries. The woman injects the medication herself, usually over a period of 10 to 12 days. The final egg retrieval process is done on an outpatient basis at the clinic and takes only 10 minutes.

Thanks to general anesthesia, patients feel no pain and can go home after an hour's rest. It is advisable to examine the ovarian function after the cancer treatment. Depending on the extent of preserved egg production and other factors important for fertility, pregnancy by sexual intercourse or the use of assisted reproduction methods is possible. In general, pregnancy should not occur before 1 year after the end of treatment and only if the patient is in good health.

At the same time, if you wait too long, the chances of having a baby are reduced, as the ovaries that have been damaged by the treatment of the malignant disease may be extinguished.

Cryopreservation is reimbursed by health insurance companies

Freezing eggs is significantly more expensive than freezing sperm. The great news, however, is that from January 2022, thanks to an amendment to the law, women's health insurance companies can pay for these expenses. Can fertility be preserved after cancer treatment? If your fertility has suffered after cancer treatment and you do not have frozen eggs or sperm, you still have a chance to become a parent thanks to donated sperm, eggs or embryos.

You can see the specific ways and treatment options with donor cells on our website. Are you facing a challenging treatment and want to insure your fertility for the future? Contact our treatment coordinators who will give you all the information you need about egg and sperm cryopreservation at Unica.

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