Preserving the fertility of young chemo patients

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Six-year-old Mylah Bryant has a blood disease (aplastic anemia) that required chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.  Not only did doctors discuss making her well, they asked her parents if they wanted to preserve tissue so she could reproduce years later without the damaging effects of chemotherapy.  It was a lot to think about, according to Mylah's dad Matthew, but because his daughter jokingly said "she wanted 1,000 children," he knew being a mother was important to her. This decision was on top of other decisions he and his wife needed to make.

Dr. Lesley Breech, director of the division of gynecology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital's Children's Comprehensive Fertility Care and Preservation Program, states "Our philosophy is that every new patient to our cancer and blood disorders institute have a fertility consult and we would meet with them and talk about the options for that age patient or if the patient is after puberty or before puberty… all those implications about what choices would be available for the patient or the family.”

The Options:

pubertal boys: sperm banking.
pubertal girls: egg freezing.
pre-pubertal boys: testicular preservation.
pre-pubertal girls: ovarian tissue cryo-preservation.
The removal and processing is not cheap. At the hospital it can range from $5,000 to $15,000. Storage at places like Reprotech is $200 to $400 a year. But Dr. Breech says there are charitable organizations that help with the cost.

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