Patients who are diagnosed with cancer face many emotional and physical challenges including the possibility that treatments meant to save their life may impact fertility. For many young people, the thought of being sterile can be almost as devastating as the cancer diagnosis itself. To assist cancer patients in their reproductive years, several local physicians have partnered with Fertile Hope. This national, nonprofit organization assists cancer patients who face the risk of infertility. Fertile Hope is dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors.
“Cancer fighting treatments continue to advance, but many patients are still faced with infertility or even sterility after their treatments are complete,” says Maria Bell, MD, a gynecologic oncologist with Sanford Clinic Women’s Health. “While several fertility preservation options are available before or after treatments, they are often underutilized due to lack of awareness or financial resources.”
According to Fertile Hope, there are more than 130,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year who are in their reproductive years. Through the Fertile Hope affiliation, physicians offer discounted fertility services for cancer patients along with detailed information about their fertility preservation options.
“We have a growing range of options available for men, women and even children undergoing chemotherapy, radiation or surgery,” says Keith Hansen, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist with Sanford Clinic Women’s Health. “People faced with cancer treatments need to know there is hope of having a family after they survive cancer.”
In addition to robust programs in areas of awareness, education and support, Fertile Hope operates the only fertility preservation financial assistance program for cancer patients, including a program for men to help reduce the cost of sperm banking,” he says.
Fertile Hope was founded in 2001 and is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility. The organization was created by cancer survivor Lindsay Beck as a result of her efforts to preserve fertility in the face of her cancer treatments.
Physicians across the state are actively involved in fertility preservation for South Dakota’s cancer patients. Through the use of telemedicine, local specialists are able to consult with cancer patients to immediately engage in fertility-saving procedures. Through telemedicine and same-day consultations, fertility can be considered without delaying vital cancer treatments.