Fertility Preservation

Home Echo Discussions Module 2 Discussion Fertility Preservation

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    Every cancer center or hospital has different ways of broaching this topic as well as different departments that can be referred to for guidance.  In my cancer hospital, in addition to our physicians, we have a team of social workers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners as well as a urology and gynecology department that we are able to refer to should we need further help on fertility preservation.  What resources do your workplace have for this unique patient population?


    Thank you for bringing up this topic; I’m also curious to hear about how other hospitals focus on fertility!

    We also have urology and gynecology departments that can assist.  However, since we have an AYA clinic (composed of medical providers, a vocational counselor, and myself as a social work counselor), many young patients across the hospital explore fertility options here.  We make sure that fertility is explored with all patients who come to our clinic, though ideally this is something that has already been brought up by the patient’s primary oncology team as we do not always see patients prior to treatment.


    Amypatel04, that sounds amazing that your cancer center offers that. At mine, we do not have a dedicated professional, or team, that discusses fertility. If a patient brings it up, the doctor will have the OSW provide a list of fertility centers in the area as a referral source. However, there isn’t anyone here that does an in-depth discussion as demonstrated in the video. I hope this can be me, but I am finding the medical jargon a bit over my head and hard to follow. Hopefully this becomes clearer as I progess in this course.  (I am an OSW).


    My cancer center has urology, gynecology, Center for Women’s health with a provider who focuses on sexual health issues, AYA program, and we have a reproductive/fertility clinic that is available to provide oncofertility services. Unfortunately, I am in the community setting and accessing some of these services for my patients can be difficult as they do not want to (or cannot afford to) travel to the main hospital for these services. We are resource rich, but somehow patients are still not being told proactively about fertility options by all providers. It is my goal after completing this course to have my team of social workers be able to confidently discuss fertility options with patients and partner with our RN Navigators to help identify patients prior to the start of treatment. Amypatel04 – you are not alone. I am an OSW and also am finding that I am learning a whole new vocabulary with the readings. I, too, hope this will get easier as the course progresses.  Thanks for your honesty. I was not sure if I was the only one feeling that way.


    Thanks everyone! I find it really interesting to hear how this topic is handled in different settings.  I’ve learned a lot from your responses and have seen the same in my practice as well.  Sometimes patients themselves bring up the topic while we have to coach others.  Hopefully this course will help us all navigate what works best in our practice and how we can apply the information to our specific roles.


    I am a PA in a community oncology practice that does not have a dedicated fertility specialist at my disposal. We have a few locally that we refer too but they aren’t as quick to schedule as I would like them to be. I hope to be able to provide my patients with resources at the time of diagnosis. We mostly see adult patients but we have had quite a few Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients who are so similar to the module patient, and when at our office are ready to start treatment ASAP and not necessarily think about the implications of fertility preservation.


    Amy- thanks for asking. We are a free standing children’s hospital (with affiliations with our university medical center) located in Omaha, NE. We do not have a reproductive endocrinologist on staff. Instead we have partnered with a few community reproductive specialists that we can refer our patients to.

    Members of our team include: physicians, nurse practitioners, patient/family educator, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, and case management.

    At our institutions, our inpatient nurse practitioner discusses fertility risks with all new inpatient diagnoses, and our providers complete the education if the child is diagnosed outpatient. Additionally, as the patient and family educator, I complete new diagnosis education with each patient and their family (whether inpatient or outpatient). As part of the new diagnosis education, all patients/families receive and handbook of information. Within the handbook, risk for infertility is also mentioned. Once I get to this point in education, it is a good way for me to ask/ensure the provider has already reviewed this information with the family. I really appreciate having defined roles on who and when fertility will be discussed.


    We have recently started our Fertility Preservation Program at our pediatric hospital.  Our team consists of a pediatric oncologist, 4 NPs/PAs, 2 nurse clinicians, and a our AYA social worker.  We have a collaboration with a local Reproductive Gynecology group for sperm banking and egg harvesting/retrieval.  We are working with our pediatric urology group to offer testicular tissue collection.  We are hoping to involve our pediatric surgeons in the next year to start to offer ovarian tissue collection.  We struggle with the attending physicians remembering to discuss fertility preservation options or consulting our team with new patients.  This is definitely a work in process.

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