By Davina Fankhauser
More than a year ago, Dr. Paul Turek of The Turek Clinic, which specializes in men’s reproductive and sexual health, approached Fertility Within Reach, a nonprofit patient-advocacy resource, to see if we could partner on development of a program to help save the fertility of cancer patients. From that united effort a unique program was created, which will help adolescent oncology patients preserve their reproductive cells (eggs and sperm).
Banking on the Future is an initiative with one simple goal: to ensure that cost is not the major obstacle for adolescent oncology patients to bank their reproductive cells.
Many families, when faced with the financial demands placed upon them while treating a child with cancer, are unable to afford the expense of banking their child’s reproductive cells. The extra financial burden often makes storage unaffordable and, therefore, puts the child’s reproductive future into question.
Banking on the Future provides individual grants, for those with financial need, to cover the cost of storing reproductive cells of adolescents who are about to begin cancer treatment that will compromise their ability to have children later on in life.
The psychological impact of infertility has been compared to medical conditions such as cancer and the findings indicate a similar amount of stress between the two diagnoses. (Domar AD, Zuttermeister PC, Friedman R. The psychological impact of infertility: a comparison with patients with other medical conditions. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1993; 14 Suppl: 45-52.) By taking advantage of the Banking on the Future initiative, adolescent oncology patients have an opportunity to be spared the unnecessary experience of life-altering stress associated with infertility. Fertility need not be another casualty of cancer for children.
Now, when someone meets a youthful cancer patient with their head covered, parent at their side, braving a smile, but their eyes are void of joy, you know there is a way to help them.
For more information on fertility preservation, click here.
Davina Fankhauser is Co-Founder and President of Fertility Within Reach a national education resource providing education, coaching and resources, to empower individuals to advocate on their own behalf, create a consistent understanding of the disease of infertility, and promote reproductive health preservation.