ETX doctor wants cancer patients to know about fertility preserv - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX doctor wants cancer patients to know about fertility preservation options


Doctors have reported that it can be difficult to predict the fertility of women after they undergo chemotherapy. 

According to one East Texas fertility doctor, many women are not properly informed about fertility preservation options prior to beginning chemotherapy.

"The American College of Clinical Oncologists just released a paper and it was really pitiful to note that less than 25 percent of oncologists actually address fertility preservation with their patients, if at all," said Dr. Anil Pinto with ReproMed Fertility Center.  

Dr. Pinto said he will see women within 24 hours of being diagnosed with cancer to discuss fertility preservation options prior to beginning chemotherapy.  

"The majority of the chemotherapy agents would essentially render women sterile, and that is a final event in the sense that you cannot reverse the damage done to the eggs in the sense that they have been exposed to chemotherapy agents," Dr. Pinto said. 

He said thanks to new medication, harvesting eggs can be done within about two weeks of the initial office visit, so women do not have to put off beginning chemotherapy for too long.  

Dr. Pinto said harvesting eggs is an outpatient procedure that requires a lot of thought and a conversation with his on-staff psychologist. 

"There are many moral, ethical and religious issues that need to be addressed. For instance, what if a patient does not survive her cancer? In that event, what do we do with the eggs?" he said. 

"A couple might decide to fertilize the eggs; now we have embryos. Embryos essentially have life. What do you do with these embryos?" he asked.  

He said while freezing embryos has been practiced for three generations, egg freezing is relatively new and more research is needed to know how long harvested eggs will last.

However, he said he has had success with both.

"Ninety-five percent of the eggs will survive the freeze and thaw and the pregnancy rate is equivalent to if we are doing a fresh IVF cycle," Dr. Pinto said. 

He said as technology advances, the procedures become easier, and it is important for doctors to share these new options with their patients before they move forward with chemotherapy.

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