Did you know that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)? NIAW is a movement that began in 1989 to raise awareness about the disease of infertility and encourage the public to understand their reproductive health. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association founded this movement to:
- Ensure that people trying to conceive know the guidelines for seeing a specialist when they are trying to conceive.
- Enhance public understanding that infertility is a disease that needs and deserves attention.
- Educate legislators about the disease of infertility and how it impacts people in their state.
Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs the body’s ability to perform this basic function. Pediatric and young adult cancer patients undergoing treatment are at high risk of having impaired fertility as a result of their disease or its treatment. Reproductive medicine provides a number of sophisticated options for assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as egg, embryo, and sperm banking, ovarian tissue cryopreservation, and third party reproduction options (egg, sperm, and embryo donation, and gestational carrier/surrogacy) which help many people achieve parenthood.
Studies show that fertility preservation can bring hope to a patient undergoing cancer treatment, that there will be options and renewed life beyond their cancer diagnosis. Studies also indicate that individuals who do not receive fertility preservation information or treatment options following a cancer diagnosis are more likely to experience profound emotional consequences once they began to navigate family planning. While adoption and third party options make parenting possible, it does not always eradicate the feeling of loss one can suffer as a result of impaired fertility.
In support of NIAW, we ask you to help us and join the movement to increase and protect access to all family building options, and to help make fertility preservation counseling part of comprehensive cancer care in pediatric and young adult patients. For more information about your fertility options, please visit www.SaveMyFertility.org.