Reproductive capabilities important to childhood cancer survivors, some potentially buttressed by Clomid

Patients who survive childhood cancer have concerns and increased hope of having their own children in the future.

With the success rate for treating childhood cancers climbing, more emphasis is bring placed on quality of life issues following successful treatment. One of these issues is infertility.

Many cancer treatments can lead to infertility, but there are several methods that can preserve the fertility of prepubescent children. For example, spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) which produce sperm cells could theoretically be removed via biopsy prior to the start of treatment and be transplanted following remission. Kyle Orwig and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh recently reported the development of a multi-parameter sorting approach to separate SSCs from cancerous cells. This separation is crucial in order to prevent the return of the SSCs from bringing the patient out of remission.

The hope to reproduce later in life exists in both sexes. A survey from the Moffitt Cancer Center found that the desire to bear children was the same for healthy girls and those with cancer.

"It's important to discuss to treatment options for fertility preservation with those likely to be affected through specific cancer treatments and interventions need to be age and gender appropriate," said Maggie Watson Ph.D.? of the Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research. "According to the latest research the most unmet need in survivors of childhood cancers are linked to fertility issues."

Watson also states that cancer professionals are encouraged to make these decisions according to age-specific circumstances and factors. Fertility preservation currently presents challenges for young women.

The effectiveness or appropriateness of fertility treatments after cancer vary. Treatments such as Clomid can be effective when a woman's ovaries can produce a follicle but hormonal stimulation is insufficient.