Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center  

Fertility Preservation

Fertility Preservation for Patients Suffering from Cancer

Fertillity Preservation
The Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center offers a range of options for fertility preservation. The oocyte cryopreservation program for cancer patients was the first of its kind, and this service has been offered under an IRB protocol since 1999. We offer the opportunity to freeze oocytes (eggs), embryos, and ovarian tissue. Ovarian tissue freezing is typically done in patients who are having abdominal surgery.
We partner with Fertile Hope to offer cancer patients help through the Sharing Hope Program.

Timeline of a Cycle

  1. We set up an appointment for you to meet with our Physician to discuss your treatment options.
  2. At the appointment, your medical history and treatment plan is reviewed, as well as future fertility concerns. The amount of time you have available prior to starting your oncology treatments is clarified, and appropriate options are discussed.
  3. We help you decide between freezing eggs and embryos, or advise you on whether your oncology treatment is benign enough not to require fertility preservation. Occasionally, depending on the severity of your disease and the urgency associated with starting your oncology treatment, it may not be possible to initiate a stimulation cycle.
  4. Insurance coverage is verified to check if you have any coverage to help with costs. If you do not have coverage, you may be a candidate for the Sharing Hope program, and an application can be completed.
  5. We then schedule an appointment with the IVF Nurse Coordinator for consultation and injection training.
  6. Start date for stimulation medications is decided based on the amount of time available prior to start of oncology treatment and anticipated start of the menstrual cycle.
  7. The timeframe to complete the stimulation cycle and egg retrieval is usually about 3 weeks.

Stimulation Cycle

  1. An ultrasound is performed to look at the ovaries and uterus. All the ultrasounds are done vaginally.
  2. Based on your status in regards to your menstrual cycle, a period may be induced, the onset of follicular development delayed, or we may be able to wait for your next menstrual period to come spontaneously.
  3. An appointment with the IVF Nurse Coordinator is scheduled for you to learn how to administer your injections and what to expect during the stimulation.
  4. The injections are to be administered daily and you will be scheduled to have an ultrasound four days after the injections begin.
  5. Ultrasounds are then done every two to three days based on your follicular development.
  6. Egg Retrieval typically happens eleven days after the stimulation injections begin. Please remember to allow for a flexibility of a couple of days on either side of the “proposed date for retrieval” as this timing is just an estimate. The actual date varies based on your response to cycle stimulation.
  7. The egg retrieval is done in our office under anesthesia. You are required to have someone take you home and we recommend that they stay with you for several hours after the procedure.

Requirements for Treatment

  1. Clearance from your oncologist and surgeon (if applicable).
  2. Infectious disease testing for you (if freezing only eggs) and your partner (if freezing embryos) as required by California State Law.
  3. If you plan on freezing embryos using sperm from someone who is not going to be actively involved in the child’s life (includes financial responsibility) a legal agreement terminating the parental rights of the sperm donor is required. However if you are using an anonymous sperm donor through a sperm bank no legal agreement is required.
  4. Consent forms for the procedure need to be signed by you and witnessed by our staff or a notary public.
  5. A time commitment of two to three weeks and flexibility on your end for appointments.

Limitations for Treatment

How to Get Started

If you are a Stanford physician and have a patient who is interested in fertility preservation, please complete a referral form including ICD-9 codes, treatment restrictions and any other pertinent information, including timeline to chemotherapy or radiation.

If you are an outside physician, please contact our new patient coordinators at 650-498-7911, Option 1 and specify the needs of your patient and if they need to be seen immediately.

If you are a cancer patient who needs to be seen within a short time frame, please communicate this to our new patient coordinators at 650-498-7911, Option 1. We make a concentrated effort to ensure that cancer patients are scheduled for a consult with a physician with minimal or no waiting period.

Fertility preservation video

Watch this: Life Vs. Life: fertility preservation for cancer patients

Elective Fertility Preservation for all Patients

Our Elective Fertility Preservation program provides the opportunity to women who wish to preserve their ability to have children in the future, as they age. The elective oocyte/embryo cryopreservation program was started in 2002. We offer the opportunity to freeze oocytes (eggs) or embryos. The process and treatment is similar to the IVF process with the exception of the transfer of embryos.

Limitations for Treatment

  1. Time commitment: once you move forward with the decision to freeze eggs you are looking at a time commitment of at least three weeks when you must be available for frequent ultrasounds and the egg retrieval.
  2. Expense: some insurance will not cover this procedure as it is elective. Please feel free to contact our insurance coordinators at 650-498-7911, Option 5 for questions regarding the cost of the program.

How to Get Started

Please contact our new patient coordinators at 650-498-7911, Option 1 to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.

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