Fertility Preservation & Counseling
Reproductive health issues — including the ability to have healthy pregnancies and children, prevent unintended pregnancies, and manage menopause or testicular failure — are all important to young cancer survivors.
Nationally Ranked Fertility Care for Cancer Patients
UC San Diego Health is repeatedly ranked among the nation's best in cancer care, obstetrics and gynecology, and urology by U.S. News & World Report. We are also the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Diego County. This is the highest possible rating for a U.S. cancer center, and it means you’ll receive the best possible care and support. Studies show patient outcomes are better at NCI-designated cancer centers.
If you're interested in preserving your fertility, it's usually best to do so before treatment begins. We understand the urgency of these decisions and offer:
Timely and comprehensive counseling before your cancer treatment
Services to address fertility, contraception, sexual health, and menopause or testicular issues.
Services for Females
Reproductive Risk Counseling: Meet with a reproductive specialist to talk about your individual infertility risks and learn about fertility preservation options, as well as safe methods to prevent pregnancy.
Embryo or Oocyte Banking: This is an option for girls and young women who have started puberty. It involves stimulating ovulation and removing the egg cells (oocytes). Your unfertilized eggs may be frozen (oocyte banking) or fertilized and frozen (embryo banking) for the future. Cancer treatment can begin the next day.
Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing (PGT): For families with hereditary cancer gene mutations, pre-implantation genetic testing for single gene defects can be performed on an embryo before it is transferred to the uterus. PGT can only be performed on embryos.
Fertility Sparing Surgery: If you will receive radiation of the abdomen or pelvis, it may be possible to move the ovaries surgically out of the field of radiation (ovarian transposition).
Ovarian Suppression: For patients with breast cancer and sometimes other types of cancer, a class of medications called GnRH agonists can be given during chemotherapy to suppress ovarian function. In breast cancer survivors, this can increase the possibility of giving birth after cancer treatment.
Ovarian Tissue Banking: One ovary or part of one ovary is removed through a minor surgical procedure and the outer surface is frozen for later use. This may be the best option for females who must start their treatments immediately, or for those who have not yet reached puberty.
Services for Males
Sperm is generally collected and stored to be used for intrauterine inseminations or in vitro fertilization in the future.
Testicular Tissue Banking
Testicular tissue is removed through minor surgery and frozen for later use. Although this option is experimental, it may be the best option for some individuals.
After Cancer Treatment
After completing cancer treatment, we recommend periodic follow-ups with reproductive specialists to discuss questions you may have.
Fertility Specialists A team approach to your care
Your UC San Health fertility specialist works alongside your oncology care team to help deliver truly comprehensive care.
Learn about your family's risk
Five percent to 10 percent of all cancers occur in people who have a family member with the same cancer. Knowing your family history is the first step toward personalized screenings and prevention. If you think you may be at higher risk, see the Family Cancer Genetics Program for more information.
Patient & Family Support Services
At UC San Diego Health, your care goes beyond treating disease. It also includes supporting you and your loved ones emotionally throughout your cancer journey. Most of our support services are free.