Breast Cancer & Fertility

Breast cancer affects one in eight women. For women diagnosed at a young age, a major concern is the ability to conceive after treatment. Through fertility preservation offered at The Fertility Center of Charleston, women have a chance to start a family after cancer, despite the effects treatments can have on fertility. Dr. Stephanie Singleton explains, “Some treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can have an adverse affect on a woman’s fertility. At The Fertility Center of Charleston, we often treat patients right after diagnosis, but before their cancer therapy begins.”

Cancer Treatment and Fertility – Both chemotherapy and radiation can create issues for patients and future fertility options. Surgery involving reproductive tissue may also affect fertility. The likelihood that cancer treatment will harm fertility depends on several factors, including the type of cancer and cancer treatment and the patient’s age at the time of treatment. Egg, sperm and embryo preservation are available services.

Fertility Preservation – Egg freezing or oocyte preservation is the process in which a woman’s healthy, viable eggs are retrieved before the cancer treatment begins. These eggs are preserved for later use. The preservation process consists of cryopreserving (freezing) eggs which can later be thawed, fertilized, and placed back inside the uterus when a woman is finished with cancer therapy and ready to start a family. The frozen oocytes have no expiration date. Dr. Singleton explains, “Egg Freezing is a procedure that will enable the woman to have a family after cancer.”

The Fertility Center of Charleston team understands the time sensitive nature of a cancer diagnosis and fertility preservation, and they make special efforts to expedite getting these patients in for consultation as quickly as possible. The process is expedited in order to not delay cancer treatment. In addition, Dr. Singleton works with local oncologists to insure that breast cancer patients get the best care possible at a minimal cost. She states, “For many of these women, time and money are factors they have to consider. We help patients understand the procedure and hopefully make this part of their cancer journey stress free.”

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Read more about fertility preservation and cancer.