Comment from Midland Fertility on egg freezing for cancer patients
Issue Date: 24 November 2014
Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland Fertility comments on news today (24 November 2014), from the charity Breast Cancer Care, that most young women diagnosed with breast cancer do not receive fertility advice, despite the fact their treatment could leave them unable to have children.
“It is deeply disappointing that 90% of female cancer patients are not offered the chance to potentially preserve their fertility by freezing their eggs before chemotherapy. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is life changing, but cure rates for many cancers are now excellent and women want to think about their future lives after recovery.
“Many patients have told me that knowing that we could freeze their eggs, gave them something positive to focus on for the future.
“The NICE guidelines recommend that women as well as men should have the fertility implications of chemotherapy discussed with them AND be offered the option of fertility preservation. Egg freezing for women can be as effective as sperm freezing for men.
“Research carried out at Midland Fertility has shown what a significant impact chemo can have on fertility even if the woman continues to have periods after her treatment. Cancer therapies can add about 10 years to a woman’s ‘fertility age’, so it is vital that those who have not started their families are given the option of egg freezing.
“Egg freezing has made dramatic progress in the last few years with the introduction of vitrification (flash freezing). Some experts now say that a ‘young’ vitrified egg has the same fertility potential as a ‘fresh’ egg, offering young cancer patients the chance of future genetic motherhood.
“Midland Fertility offers a nationwide NHS-based, rapid-response egg freezing service for young cancer patients who are supported by their CCGs.”
Midland Fertility has been licensed to freeze eggs since 2000. In May 2002 the UK’s first frozen egg baby – a girl – was born following treatment at the unit, followed in September 2005 by the UK’s first frozen egg twins (girls) and the first ‘frozen egg’ boy in December 2005. Midland Fertility’s and the UK’s first two vitrified/‘flash-frozen’ egg babies were born in December 2010 and January 2011.