Children's Memorial Hospital is expanding its fertility preservation services to its young cancer patients and their families. In February, Marleta Reynolds, MD, Chief of Surgery, and Julian Schink, MD, from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, performed the hospital’s first ovarian harvest on a female patient who is about to undergo aggressive chemotherapy and radiation.
“I am confident that this groundbreaking surgery and techniques now in research stages will one day make it possible for young women who risk infertility from cancer treatments to have children of their own,” said Reynolds.
Children's Memorial is a member of a nationwide Oncofertility Consortium at Northwestern University which is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. This consortium of fertility experts, endocrinologists and researchers are testing to see if a harvested ovary can be fertilized for reproduction. Young cancer patients choosing ovarian harvest surgery are participating in this important research.
"Thinking about a young girl's future fertility at the time of a cancer diagnosis is an important part of the cutting edge care offered by Children's Memorial Hospital," said Teresa Woodruff, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Fertility Preservation at the Feinberg School of Medicine and Director of the Oncofertility Consortium.
Barbara Lockart, APN, MSN, who is a nurse practitioner in the hospital’s Long Term Survivor’s STAR Clinic, has been counseling young patients for several years on their fertility options. “By doing this procedure at Children’s Memorial, we are showing our commitment to fertility preservation,” said Lockart. “For years we have been offering male patients the option of banking their sperm. Now we are in a position to offer young female patients the option of harvesting their ovaries. The research holds promise that these girls will be able to start a family when they are ready.”
Lockart says fertility preservation can also apply to patients treated in other disciplines, such as patients with genetic disorders that might cause infertility and rheumatology, that also use medications which might result in infertility.
Children's Memorial is one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country according to rankings in U.S. News & World Report. It is the pediatric teaching hospital of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. In June of 2012 Children's Memorial will be moving to its news hospital in downtown Chicago, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.