Over the past few decades, there have been tremendous advancements in the field of medicine that have paved the way for new possibilities. Cancer, which was once considered to be incurable can now be treated effectively with the help of various interventional and therapeutic procedures. However, just like any other treatment procedure, these too come with certain side-effects and impaired Fertility is one of them.
Reports given by the National Cancer Registry of India have shown that nearly 11.4 lakh people are detected with cancer every year and the numbers are increasing. Majority of these patients are still in their reproductive age i.e. between 18 to 45 years of age. Cancer treatments can affect the ability to reproduce by depleting the ovarian reserves (in case of women) or affecting the ability to produce new ones (in case of males). While in some cases, the problem is temporary and may last for a few months or even years, in others, it can be permanent. This calls for the need of a solution that can help to preserve your Fertility and if you are looking for such solutions, Zeeva is your ultimate destination. We offer a wide gamut of highly reliable and advanced options of Fertility preservation for both males and females with the sole idea of helping you preserve your dream of having your own baby and making it come true whenever you want.
In simple words, Fertility preservation may be defined as the process of preserving the eggs, sperms or reproductive tissues of patients undergoing cancer treatment so that these can be used post their treatment to have their own baby. Once cancer has been diagnosed, the doctors evaluate your condition to figure out a proper treatment plan which is then assessed to determine the risks it poses to your Fertility with the help of an infertility specialist. If the doctors feel that your Fertility might be compromised at any point, you will be recommended to opt for oncofertility.
Fertility refers to the ability to conceive and reproduce. The risks of infertility among cancer patients vary from one patient to another depending upon various factors, which include:
As far as the women are concerned, they have a limited ovarian reserve which keeps on reducing with age. At the time of puberty, the egg count is about 1 million, which reduced to around 3 lakhs by the time a woman reaches 25 years of age. This goes on decreasing gradually until the women hit menopause. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can affect Fertility by not only destroying these eggs but also impacting the various reproductive organs which are essential for carrying a pregnancy to term.
The various option of Fertility preservation available for females include:
Embryo freezing – It allows the couple to store embryos for later use. The eggs, which are taken before initiating the treatment, are fertilized with the sperm and the resulting embryo is frozen to be used later.
Egg freezing – It involves the collection of the patient’s eggs before starting the therapies or other treatments and preserving these at a very low temperature. It’s usually recommended for unmarried females who can store eggs to be used for conception later in case spontaneous pregnancy doesn’t happen.
Ovarian tissue freezing – This involves the collection of the ovarian tissue and re-implanting the same after the treatment. It’s usually recommended if there is paucity of time before starting cancer treatment or in prepubertal adolescent girls.
Gonadal shielding during radiation – It involves the use of a special shielding technique to limit radiations that are being delivered to the reproductive organs.
Ovarian suppression with GnRH analogs or antagonists – It involves the use of certain hormonal therapies prior to the chemo and radiation therapies, so as to protect the ovarian tissues from the harmful impact of these.
Ovarian transposition – The ovaries are temporarily repositioned away from their original location to protect them from the field of radiation. Trachelectomy – It involves the surgical removal of the cervix, the upper portion of the vagina and parametrium, to treat cervical cancer without affecting the ability to conceive and carry a child.
Unlike women, men do not have a limited reserve of sperm and can go on producing these even at the age of 80. The sperm production cycle takes about 64 days and this process by which the testes produce the sperm is known as spermatogenesis. Healthy male reproduction is regulated by 3 primary hormones - follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone. FSH and LH are secreted by the pituitary gland whereas testosterone is produced by the testes. Any change in the production of these hormones, or the normal production of sperms, can impact the ability to reproduce by affecting the quality and quantity of the sperms.
The various option of Fertility preservation available for males include:
Sperm freezing – It involves the collection of the healthy male sperms before the treatment is started and then storing them at a very low temperature to be used later on.
Gonadal shielding during radiation – It involves the use of a special shield to limit the radiations reaching the testicles.
Testicular tissue freezing – The testicular tissue is collected and re-implanted after treatment.
Testicular suppression with GnRH analogs and antagonists – It involves the use of certain hormonal therapies to protect the testicular tissue from the harmful effects of chemo and radiation therapy.