Cancer sufferers will get appointments to freeze their egg, sperm or ovarian tissue within 48 hours of their diagnosis at a new Monash IVF rapid service.
Lucie van den Berg, Herald Sun, 12 February 2013
The 44-year-old, who had her ovarian tissue thawed and implanted seven years after it was frozen, is expecting her first baby in July.
She had her tissue frozen in September 2005 after being diagnosed with cancer, but before her chemotherapy began.
In 2011 she came back to the clinic, at age 43, to have the tissue implanted and undergo IVF treatment.
Monash IVF clinical director Dr Lynn Burmeister said the pregnancy was progressing perfectly. Three-dimensional images taken yesterday reveal the baby at 17 weeks and five days.
The woman is the world’s second breast cancer survivor to become pregnant using this technique and hers is the 20th successful pregnancy.
The new service encourages doctors and oncologists to refer patients with a positive cancer diagnosis to their service as soon as possible after diagnosis to maximise their chances of storing egg or ovarian tissue.
“We want to make sure oncologists know about our service. There will be a number they can ring 24 hours and get access to a fertility specialist trained in the procedure within 48 hours of diagnosis,” Dr Burmeister said.
A report in the Medical Journal of Australia online yesterday said there was a “possible application” for using ovarian tissue transplants to delay menopause.
Dr Burmeister said there was huge interest in the technique since the pregnancy was announced in November, but at this stage the service was only for cancer patients and women at risk of early menopause.
Cancer advocacy groups have urged caution in promoting the technique as a way to beat the fertility clock.