“It may sound odd to discuss fertility issues still decades away as parents agonize over whether a child will live or die.”
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, one of the very last things on parents’ minds is what cancer treatments might do to their child’s future fertility. Even further from their minds is investigating what might be done before their child begins treatment that might help their child become a parent in the future, if they should choose to do so.
Dr. Kyle Orwig, of the University of Pittsburgh is leading a study to help preserve young cancer patients’ fertility. Being the Biology/Chemistry nerd that I am, I find all of this fascinating. Further, Dr. Teresa Woodruff of NorthWestern University’s Oncofertility Consortium is working with young female cancer patients to protect their fertility. Most of us have heard of freezing eggs or sperm, but these researchers are going beyond to find help for those children who have not yet reached puberty. Girls are born with all of the eggs they will ever have, but these eggs remain “immature” until puberty… so harvesting for the purpose of fertilization is not currently possible.
I send my sincere thanks to Dr. Orwig and Dr. Woodruff. Thank you for your efforts, not only for saving the lives of children with cancer, but for clearly focusing on future quality of life issues for survivors.
Once again, my heart goes deep into parents’ hearts out there… to those who must keep making health care decisions minute by minute for their child with cancer. There is so much to think of… and now here is one more thing.
Oh how these parents love their children!
There is help and there is hope brewing– fertility preservation for future childhood cancer survivors. I know, without a doubt, I would love to be a mom someday.
I pray that one day God will grant me this gift, this blessing. I pray more survivors will receive this same blessing as dedicated, caring researchers work toward this goal.