WELCOME TO FUTuRE FERTILITY
Joint Statement from the Alliance for Fertility Preservation and the Oncofertility Consortium on Fertility Preservation for Patients Receiving Gonadotoxic Therapies During the COVID-19 Pandemic
During this uncertain and unprecedented time, the oncofertility community is working together to provide up-to-date fertility preservation information for patients and providers. We are aware of the recommendations from ASRM’s COVID-19 Task Force which suggests new IVF cycles not be initiated at this time. While this pause in services does not apply to urgent fertility preservation for patients receiving gonadotoxic therapies, we recognize it may impact practices’ standard operations which could, inadvertently affect these patients’ access to some services. Based on dialogue with clinicians and leaders in the fertility preservation community, providers remain committed to handling these urgent cases, but we are aware that evolving geographic, legal, and practical constraints may cause interruptions or delays.
Therefore, should you encounter any difficulty in obtaining fertility preservation consultations or services during this unprecedented international emergency, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for assistance.
For patients and providers in Australia, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (Victoria, only) for further assistance.
We know this situation is rapidly evolving and information may change daily, but we welcome any communication and/or updates from clinicians about any clinic closures, changes in ability to triage oncofertility patients, and/or any other concerns or obstacles you are encountering. Please let us know what’s happening with your practice, so we may better navigate patients in need. In the meantime, be well and please stay safe and healthy during this time.
Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer has led to significant improvements in survival rates. The loss of reproductive or sexual function following diagnosis of cancer or a serious but non-malignant disease, or its treatment, is a significant survivorship consideration for many patients. The use of treatments that can affect the future fertility of men, women, and children and the late effect consequences of infertility and sexual dysfunction can have a lasting impact on a patient’s physical and psychological well- being.
The term ‘oncofertility’ describes a subspecialty of medicine that focuses on the reproductive concerns of cancer patients, who may face infertility as a result of their treatment. As survival rates improve, there is an expectation by patients and health care professionals that efforts be made to preserve the reproductive health potential of patients who receive gonadotoxic treatment whenever possible.
We have established an oncofertility service which includes access to the ‘Fertility & Research Centre’ led by Prof William Ledger. This clinic is based at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney and is open from Monday to Saturday. This is the first dedicated oncofertility centre in Australia and is the only fertility centre to combine basic and clinical research with comprehensive fertility preservation, assisted reproduction treatment and psychosocial support in the public hospital setting.
The Fertility & Research Centre provides rapid access to oncofertility consultations and fertility preservation options for paediatric, adolescent and adult cancer patients. This multidisciplinary service provides a centre of clinical and research excellence which ensures that cancer patients in NSW benefit from oncofertility care, care coordination and practical and psychosocial oncofertility support at diagnosis and through treatment into survivorship. A NSW referral service for cancer patients or medical patients whose fertility or sexual health may be affected by medical or surgical treatment has been established (Link to Patient Registration Form)
We have an innovative research program, which brings oncologists, fertility specialists and scientists together into one team. These include researchers in the Oocyte and Ovarian Biology Laboratories at The University of New South Wales led by Prof Robert Gilchrist, researchers in The Laboratory for Ageing Research at The University of New South Wales led by Dr Lindsay Wu and clinicians in both the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital and the Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Prince of Wales Hospital led by Dr. Anazodo. This collaboration has allowed us to develop a number of pre-clinical and clinical studies (Research page) which cover different aspects of care (biological, medical and psychological) as well as allowing us to collaborate with national and international investigators.
We hope this service and collaboration will improve access to fertility knowledge consultation procedures and support as well as reducing the risk of future infertility and success of assisted reproduction treatment.
Cancer can affect fertility – but a lot of young Australians aren’t being told One in 10 cancer survivors will experience infertility, but discussions about fertility preservation are not a standard part of care in Australia. Here, a cancer survivor and adolescent oncologist explain why they’re pushing for change.https://www.sbs.com.au/news/cancer-can-affect-fertility-but-a-lot-of-young-australians-aren-t-being-told
Seven news interview with Professor Bill Ledger in relation to the Fertility Research Centre NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard opens the new Fertility Research Centre which will offer free reproductive consultations, fertility preservation and IVF services for cancer patients https://mms.tveyes.com/ProgramSummaryView.aspx?ProgramSummaryItemID=664fe559-b047-4c44-9be5-3268d862973b