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Female Oncology Patients Have New Option to Preserve Fertility Before Cancer Treatments

April 24, 2013

Nashville fertility specialist part of national network providing ovarian tissue freezing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 24, 2013) Women facing a cancer diagnosis now have a new option to preserve fertility before beginning oncology therapy.

“Until recently, fertility preservation options for women preparing to undergo chemotherapy or radiation for cancer required ovarian stimulation with hormones. These options, including embryo cryopreservation (embryo freezing) and oocyte cryopreservation (freezing and storing egg cells), could delay the onset of the cancer therapy for as much as four weeks,” said Jaime Vasquez, M.D., medical director of The Center for Reproductive Health at TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. “Now we provide women an option to preserve reproductive tissue from their ovary so that they have hope of conceiving later in life. The advantages of ovarian tissue cryopreservation are that it requires no hormone stimulation and can happen in a timeframe that does not delay treatment.”

The procedure involves collecting healthy ovarian tissue by laparoscopy and cryopreservation of the tissue. When the woman has completed treatment or is ready to start a family, her ovarian tissue is thawed and re-implanted into her body. In some cases, she may be able to conceive a child naturally after this procedure or she may need to use an in-vitro fertilization technique.

The Center for Reproductive Health is a part of the National Physicians Cooperative, a network of oncologists and reproductive endocrinologists working with the Oncofertility Consortium on ovarian tissue freezing. It is the only network location in Tennessee and one of only about 50 locations nationwide offering this preservation. This service is funded by a National Institute of Health grant, which means that there is no charge to the patient.

“Both patients and physicians need to know that various fertility preservation options are now available for women diagnosed with cancer,” Vasquez said. “ For decades, male patients have been able to preserve their fertility by simply cryopreserving their sperm at any time before their cancer treatment begins. Likewise, by opting for ovarian tissue preservation, women can preserve their fertility without hormone stimulation and with no delay in her cancer treatment.”

Vasquez has been offering this preservation option since 2010. He anticipates it will still be several years before specialists know how well the preservation method works for patients, though it provides additional hope and an opportunity to conceive – a chance that he says many patients are happy to try.

For more information about fertility preservation services, visit TriStarHealth.com and select TriStar Centennial Medical Center or call TriStar MedLine® at (615) 342-1919 or toll-free at (800) 242-5662.

Celebrating 45 years of providing quality healthcare to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and the surrounding region, TriStar Centennial Medical Center is a 657-bed comprehensive facility offering medical and surgical programs including behavioral health, 24-hour emergency, heart and vascular, imaging, neurosciences, oncology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, rehabilitation, sleep disorder, and women’s services. An affiliate of TriStar Health, TriStar Centennial Medical Center is home to TriStar Centennial Sarah Cannon Cancer Center, TriStar Centennial Women’s & Children’s, TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center as well as TriStar Centennial Parthenon Pavilion, one of the oldest and largest full-service psychiatric facilities in the region. Round-the-clock care is also available at TriStar Ashland City, a critical access hospital in nearby Cheatham County. The new TriStar Emergency Room located in Spring Hill provides 24-hour emergency care for nearby Spring Hill, Tenn., and surrounding communities. For more information about the services offered and health plans accepted by TriStar Centennial Medical Center or TriStar Health, call TriStar MedLine® at (615) 342-1919 or (800) 242-5662, or visit TriStarHealth.com and choose TriStar Centennial Medical Center. TriStar Centennial Medical Center is located at 2300 Patterson Street in Nashville.

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