About 1 in every 500 children is diagnosed with cancer. Roughly 75% of these children beat the disease, but aggressive treatment protocols leave many of these children infertile. Looking forward in life, the Program for Fertility Preservation at Women and Infants Hospital is looking into fertility preservation options to give back fertility to childhood cancer survivors.

The Division of Oncology at Hasbro Children’s Hospital is working with Women and Infants to provide fertility preservation options. Among the options is the ability to freeze a section of the ovary for use later in life. While the benefit of ovary preservation is clear, not all children will be able to take advantage of the offering. Children with certain forms of leukemia may carry cancer cells in tissues of the body, including ovarian tissue. In these cases, the frozen section of ovary could cause a rebirth of cancer and thus prove more harmful than helpful.

Ovary freezing and storage for 20 to 30 years is traditionally reserved for research purposes, but experts agree the fertility treatment is worth a try if childhood cancer survivors are able to regain fertility later in life when they want to start a family of their own.

A grant from the National Institutes of Health is sponsoring the research. Women and Infants Hospital is one of just a few hospitals accepting children for the study. The hospital provides fertility treatments and solutions for thousands of women and couples seeking help conceiving. The IVF program, the collection of ovarian samples and storage of ovarian samples are all done at Women and Infants Hospital.

Source: Amy Blustein. Women and Infants Hospital. 30 September 2010.