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New Fertility and Cancer Study from Oncofertility Consortium Member, Jennifer Mersereau, MD

Advances in cancer treatments give young women more hope for survival than ever before, but many treatments can leave women unable to naturally conceive a child. The University of North Carolina (UNC) Fertility Preservation Program, a member of the National Physicians Cooperative, provides options for female patients of reproductive age newly diagnosed with cancer, but the decision to initiate fertility preservation must be made quickly, before cancer treatment begins. General lack of knowledge about reproductive functioning, stress related to processing the cancer diagnosis, urgency, and insufficient support while attempting to make the decision, all serve to degrade this process often leading to later decisional regret.

As a result, Oncofertility Consortium member, Dr. Jennifer Mersereau, and UNC Fertility are conducting a multidisciplinary research study that evaluates a ‘Decision-Aid” designed to help reproductive-aged women (age 18-42) make decisions about fertility and cancer. This collaborative project between a reproductive endocrinologist, clinical psychologist, and oncology experts involves a new interactive, web-based decision aid that is used in concert with fertility preservation counseling. If this decision aid proves to be beneficial, this web-based tool may potentially be used for patients who do not have easy access for a full fertility preservation consultation.

Study Details:

  • Study participants will have a routine consultation appointment with a fertility specialist at UNC Fertility to discuss fertility, cancer, and treatment options for fertility preservation. Note that this visit is considered part of routine medical care.
  • Participants will plan for an additional 45-60 minutes at the time of their consultation to watch a web-based presentation about fertility preservation and decision-making.  They will also complete questionnaires at that time.
  • Participants will be asked to complete 2 additional web-based surveys, one approximately one week after the consultation, and one approximately 6 months later.

Findings from this pilot evaluation will support a grant application for a multi-site study to investigate community effectiveness and accessibility. Study participants will receive a $50 gift card for full participation, to compensate for their time and effort. If you are in the Chapel Hill area and interested in taking part in this study, please call for a consultation appointment (919-966-1150) or send an email to jem *at* unc.edu with your name, phone number and times that you can be reached. Your contact information will not be shared with anyone outside the study. For more information about this study, please click here.

*Supported by a grant from the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center.

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