A call to action: unified clinical practice guidelines for oncofertility care
Sehring J, Hussain A, Grimm L, et al. A call to action: unified clinical practice guidelines for oncofertility care. J Assist Reprod Genet. Published online March 11, 2021, 10.1007/s10815-021-02142-z. Online ahead of print.
By 2030, WHO estimates that 1.4 million reproductive-aged women will be diagnosed with cancer annually. Fortunately, cancer is no longer considered an incurable disease in many cases. From 2008-2014, 85% of women under the age of 45 years diagnosed with cancer survived. This increase in survival rate has shifted attention from focusing exclusively on preserving life to focusing on preserving quality of life after treatment. One aspect of this is preserving the ability to have a biological family. Oncofertility, the field that bridges oncology and reproductive endocrinology with the goal of preserving fertility, offers these patients hope. Though it is clear that ASCO and ASRM recognize the importance of fertility preservation as an aspect of comprehensive oncology care, there are not yet unified guidelines for oncologists and fertility specialists for treating oncofertility patients. First, we identify the need for reproductive counseling prior to cancer treatment, as many patients report that their fertility preservation concerns are not addressed adequately. We then delineate multi-modal fertility preservation options that are available and appropriate for different patients with corresponding outcomes using different treatments. We discuss the unique challenges and considerations, including ethical dilemmas, for delivering timely and comprehensive care specifically for oncofertility patients. Finally, we address the multidisciplinary team that includes oncologists, reproductive endocrinologists, surgeons as well as their staff, nurses, genetic counselors, mental health professionals, and more. Since oncofertility patient care requires the coordination of both physician teams, one set of unified guidelines will greatly improve quality of care.