Embryo banking: This well-studied choice for fertility involves freezing fertilized eggs, or embryos. Following cancer treatment, the woman who wants to get pregnant can have embryos transferred back into the uterus in hopes for future pregnancy. This is the
Oocyte (egg) banking: A woman may choose to have unfertilized eggs frozen. In the past, this met with only moderate success because of the tendency of eggs to develop ice crystals during freezing. New techniques of flash freezing, or vitrification, have made this a much better option, though some techniques are still under study.
Ovarian tissue freezing: Another option is to remove part or all of an ovary for later implantation, or attempt to mature the eggs in culture to make embryos. This requires an outpatient surgery to obtain ovarian tissue. While still in the earlier phases of research, it may be an option for some young girls and women with limited time to attempt preservation of fertility.
Hormone suppression: Some patients may opt to be given medications that create a menopause-like state during chemotherapy to minimize ovarian activity, but researchers still disagree about whether it protects the ovary. Newer medications are under study.
Other options: In certain scenarios requiring radiation therapy, pelvic shielding or ovarian transposition may have some benefit.
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