The American Society of Reproductive Medicine is urging oncologists to talk with cancer patients about fertility. Dr. Geoffrey Sher of the Sher Fertility Institute in Las Vegas said only one in four women are told about how cancer treatment affects their reproductive system.
"The treatment for cancer in a woman can have devastating effects on her eggs and her ovaries and the ability to conceive afterward," Sher said.
He said more women are being diagnosed with breast, ovarian and uterine cancers early and surviving the disease only to find out years later they can't bear children. He said it's a tragedy that could be avoided.
"For many of these women the ability to have a baby is completely lost unless you can preserve the eggs before they go into the treatment," Sher said.
Some women who fight uterine cancer may still not be able to bear their child, but a surrogate could.
That's why Sher created the Fertility Rescue Program to help patients preserve their eggs for free before they go into treatment for cancer.
Nicole Babbs was diagnosed with breast cancer last year at age 37.
"I'd always planned on having a family, just the timing wasn't quite right and then I got diagnosed," Babbs said.
She said she's lucky it was in the early stages and her surgeon sent her to Sher.
"It's not until you finish (beating cancer) that you realize that was one part of your life. The next part is moving on from it. So to be able to have a family afterwards and live the life you wanted before the diagnosis is really important," Babbs said.
The Sher Fertility Institute has saved eggs free of charge for 50 women battling cancer in the U.S. and Canada.
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