Women with estrogen-sensitive (ER+) and / or progesterone-sensitive (PR+) cancers may increase their risk of a cancer recurrence from in vitro fertilization treatments used in fertility preservation. The definitive risk has not been documented well and many breast cancer patients who are ER+ or PR+ have successfully completed fertility preservation treatment with no change to their diagnosis or prognosis. (Our Fertile Action founder is one of them).
Your oncologist may recommend against egg and embryo freezing based on your specific pathology and prognosis. Their concern is that the sudden surge in hormones from fertility preservation treatment could accelerate the growth of a tumor. Some fertility specialists are showing great success with an alternative treatment to traditional in vitro fertilization drugs.
In these cases, patients use common drugs used to treat cancer, such as letrozole and tamoxifen, which may protect the body from the effects of estrogen while stimulating the ovaries to mature multiple eggs for egg or embryo freezing with in vitro fertilization. Patients with hormone sensitivity can use Letrozole or Tamoxifen, as an experimental alternative, to the common fertility drugs used during in standard stimulation. Not all fertility specialists are familiar with this technique or use it regularly. Please contact Fertile Action to discuss further.
Fertile Action believes this is a decision for the cancer patient to make once she is informed of all the facts from both her oncologist and fertility specialist. Some experimental and alternative options may be best for hormone-sensitive patients.