Protection of Fertility
Mission and Vision
To encourage awareness of the importance of Fertility Preservation and to improve collaborative research and development, this special interest group brings together two disciplines: Oncology and Fertility. Fortunately, oncology treatments have improved dramatically and the majority of patients diagnosed with the commonest forms of cancer can expect to be cured. However, certain chemotherapy (and radiotherapy) treatments can lead to reduced fertility and in some cases sterility. If oncology patients are living longer in a “disease free state”, then ensuring an optimum quality of life, including the option of raising a family, is an issue that physicians need to consider as a contribution to patient care.
Various protection and preservation strategies have been developed in an effort to improve fertility and/or quality of life outcomes for this population: gametes or embryos may be frozen for subsequent use involving IVF, ovarian tissue or testicular biopsies may be excised, frozen and stored with the view of grafting the tissue and more recently there is increased evidence of fertility preservation using gonadotrophin releasing hormone analogues during chemotherapy. Yet, each of these options has their limitations and some techniques are still in their infancy. Through this FPS SIG we aim to facilitate research and subsequent dissemination of research findings to the general public, scientists, clinicians and patient associations.
On a more applied level, it aims to promote improvements in clinical practice through organizing teaching, training and continuing medical education activities, developing and maintaining data registries, facilitating collaborative research and implementing methods to improve quality outcomes in clinical and laboratory procedures.
A copy of the SIG’s terms of reference can be downloaded from the link below.
The Fertility Preservation Unit at Royal Women’s Hospital (RWH) and Melbourne IVF (MIVF) has a long and proud history of providing fertility preservation (FP) services to patients affected by cancer and other fertility threatening, medical conditions.
Ovarian tissue cryopreservation and grafting is now acknowledged as an important and successful fertility preservation modality. It is no longer considered experimental by peak professional bodies. Often, it is the only option for young patients and those for whom gamete cryopreservation, such as mature eggs and sperm, is not possible.
A national tissue retrieval and transport program for children, adolescents and adults has now been implemented.
The service also provides educational resources to assist with all aspects of FP, including:
- Patient information and health provider educational materials, accessible both in hard copy and electronically
- Access to telephone and/or Skype consultation service with health providers regarding patient queries
- Referral pathways for your patients to be managed by our service in Melbourne, if necessary