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Fertility preservation options should be presented to patients as early as possible after the diagnosis of a medical condition or treatment which may harm fertility. Many diseases as well as the long-term therapies used to treat them can have a negative impact on reproductive health.
A number of antiinflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs have advanced the treatment of many non-malignant disorders; however, information regarding the effects of these agents on reproductive function has been limited. Many of the available data have focused on the effects of antiinflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs on pregnancy. However, male and female gonadal function may be affected by these drugs as well.
Gonadotoxic therapies known to affect reproductive health includes, but may not be limited to:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
As a member of the health care team, pharmacists can help patients by initiating conversations regarding the adverse effect of certain treatments and medications on fertility. To determine the best fertility preservation option, patients should have a fertility preservation consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist. The Oncofertiltiy Consortium can assist pharmacists with the referral process.
It is critical that the pharmacist keeps an open line of communication with the health care team and is clear about what can be done in terms of treatment- for example whether it is safe for a patient to discontinue or switch medications. They may also assist by selecting a therapy less harmful to fertility.
The Oncofertility Consortium® provides a variety of oncofertility resources for pharmacists to aid in the initiation of fertilty preservation conversations.
Join the National Physicians Cooperative, a nationwide network of health care providers and fertility preservation centers who share the common goal to protect and preserve reproductive health through the continuum of care of care and across the lifespan of patients.
National Physicians Cooperative Membership Benefits
- Access to a national referral network for patients seeking fertility preservation
- Information on how to establish a multidisciplinary Fertility Preservation program
- Training in the best practices, including technology updates and practice management
- Templates and assistance for obtaining IRB approval for participation in multicenter NPC studies
- Access to materials and tools as needed to support clinical studies
- Compensation for the time and materials required to freeze tissues for the research pool
- Invitations to Virtual Grand Rounds, annual meetings, special events
- Information about the financial aspects of fertility preservation
- Use of a Fertility Preservation Brochure tailored to your program
Implement a Fertility Preservation Program
The Oncofertility Consortium and National Physicians Cooperative provide resources to assist providers intereted in implementing a fertility preservation program.
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Education and Communication Strategies
The Decision Tool Web Portal is a library of existing fertility preservation resources designed to help pharmacists navigate fertility preservation conversations. Available Resources include:
- Communication strategies for discussing fertility preservation options with patients of all ages and their family members
- Decision tools and aids designed to guide patient fertility preservation discussions
- ASRM clinical guidelines and recommendations
- Information on existing and experimental fertility preservation techniques and technology
- Print and online patient educational resources
Each patient needs an individualized consultation to determine the best and most mature technology available in their unique circumstances and according to their informed choice. To refer a patient for a fertility preservation consultation, call the FERTline at 312-503-FERT or 866-708-FERT and print out this flyer to give to your patients.
Patients are often concerned about the cost of fertility preservation procedures. To learn more about insurance coverage for fertility preservation, read Incorporating Insurance Education into the Fertility Preservation Process from Oncofertility Communication (2014) or check out the Oncofertility Consortium® blog post on Insurance Coverage for Fertility Preservation.