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Cancer treatment can cause infertility. What can you do after hearing the diagnosis?

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IVF may be the only chance to make the dream of having children come true. Infertility can be one of the complications after oncological treatment. However, what can be done after hearing the diagnosis, but before starting treatment?

Magdalena Stawicka fell ill with breast cancer two years ago. She made a long-term plan right away. – We have a cancer treatment project, we have a fight for life project, and we don’t think about what will happen when we finish this treatment – he says. They are thinking about it in Poznań. The city has just extended funding for its pioneering fertility preservation program for cancer patients. It is dedicated to women and men aged 18 to 40. It is also extremely necessary, because oncological treatment has complications that are rarely discussed. – The ovaries will not produce egg cells, and the testes will not produce sperm – explains Professor Leszek Pawelczyk, head of the Department of Infertility and Gynecological and Obstetric Endocrinology at the Clinical Hospital in Poznań.

The growing problem of male infertilityTVN24

Huge costs

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It is estimated that only 10 percent of women with breast cancer will become pregnant after completing chemotherapy. – Infertility of a woman or a man is a very serious complication, which in many cases is simply irreversible – says Dr. Joanna Kufel-Grabowska, a clinical oncologist from the Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy of the Medical University of Gdańsk.

After the diagnosis, but before treatment, the reproductive cells should be collected, frozen and stored until recovery, i.e. the first stage of the in vitro procedure. Magdalena paid for it herself. “With all the research, it would be about 10-12,000,” he says. In modern countries, it is part of comprehensive public cancer care. – Oncologists receive younger and younger patients who learn that their fight for life begins, but it would be good if their dreams of having their own children did not end at this stage – warns Agata Dzikowska from the Press Office of the Municipal Office Wroclaw. Unfortunately, these dreams often do not come true.

Apart from Poznań, several local governments help. The state does not help, because it would have to start financing in vitro. – We should finally get rid of these ideological accretions – emphasizes Professor Sławomir Wołczyński, a specialist in the field of gynecology and endocrinology from the University Clinical Hospital in Bialystok.

In June, experts operating at the Agency for Health Technology Assessment found it justified to finance fertility protection for oncological patients, arguing that the number of people with cancer will increase and that they may want to have children. – We are unsatisfied that too few of these patients reach us – emphasizes Professor Leszek Pawelczyk. On July 3, the first Polish recommendations on oncofertility were published. However, without reimbursement, many patients will not be helped by these recommendations. – A young girl at this critical moment may simply not have the money. Well, the later happiness of this patient cannot be made dependent on whether she has money or not – points out Professor Sławomir Wołczyński. Unfortunately, this is how it is done in Poland.

Main photo source: TVN facts

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