Annually there are 80,000 cancer survivors that are diagnosed with cancer in their reproductive years. Cancer and its treatment put these survivors at risk of becoming infertile. Fertility preservation prior to treatment is an option for some of these men and women but not for everyone. Cancer types, treatment timelines and age can all serve as barriers.
Since 2009, the LIVESTRONG Foundation has been helping cancer survivors address their concerns in regards to fertility by providing education and resources for support. LIVESTRONG Fertility (formerly known as Fertile Hope) connects men and women to discounted rates on fertility preservation services prior to treatment.
Today there are over 300,000 pediatric cancer survivors, many who did not have the opportunity to take measures to preserve their fertility. Women, specifically, find themselves at risk of early menopause post-treatment. For them, preservation after treatment ends may still be an option; however, there is little to no financial assistance. The costs of preservation are still high, with the national average for embryo freezing being $12,400 and for egg freezing $11,900*. These numbers do not include annual storage costs that they may incur.
For the last several years, LIVESTRONG Fertility has noticed an increase in requests from women who did not have the opportunity to preserve. They were rushed into treatment, their cancer type was too aggressive, they were too young or they could not afford preservation services at the time of diagnosis.
To address this issue, LIVESTRONG has launched a pilot program on April 1 to serve 60 women in 2014 that are at risk for premature ovarian failure or premature menopause after treatment. The program is mirrored after our program that aids women prior to treatment. With the help and support of EMD Serono, Inc. and partnering fertility centers, LIVESTRONG will be able to grant 60 eligible women one round of donated medications and access to discounted rates of fertility services.
Individuals must complete an application containing four parts: a patient authorization form, an oncologist certification form, a reproductive endocrinologist referral form and a copy of their most recent 1040 tax form. The oncologist must sign off that the patient’s fertility was put at risk or will be at risk. Individuals who are interested should contact the LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center to learn more about the program by phone 1-866-220-7777 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our goal is that this pilot will ease the burdens that women face once treatment ends and provide hope to those that did not have the opportunity to preserve prior to treatment.
* These numbers were taken from the LIVESTRONG Fertility program data. These costs are typical but may vary by geographic region and facility.