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Pregnancy attempts among adolescent and young adult cancer survivors

To examine whether demographic and cancer-related characteristics and factors such as fertility discussion with a medical provider and fertility preservation use are associated with attempting pregnancy after adolescent and young adult cancer. Cross-sectional online survey. Not applicable. Women with lymphoma, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, or gynecologic cancer diagnosed at 15-39 years from 2004 to 2016 were identified from the North Carolina Cancer Registry and the Kaiser Permanente Northern and Southern California health care systems and responded to an online survey addressing survivorship concerns, including fertility and reproductive outcomes. Demographic characteristics, cancer characteristics, fertility discussion with a medical provider or fertility specialist between cancer diagnosis and starting cancer treatment, use of fertility preservation strategies (freezing embryos or oocytes) after cancer diagnosis. Pregnancy attempt after cancer diagnosis, defined by either a pregnancy or 12 months of trying to become pregnant without pregnancy. Among 801 participants who had not reached their desired family size at diagnosis, 77% had a fertility discussion with any medical provider between cancer diagnosis and treatment initiation, and 8% used fertility preservation after cancer diagnosis. At survey (median =7 years after diagnosis; interquartile range, 4-10), 32% had attempted pregnancy. Neither fertility discussion with any medical provider nor fertility counseling with a fertility specialist was significantly associated with pregnancy attempts. However, the use of fertility preservation was significantly associated with attempting pregnancy (prevalence ratios = 1.74; 95% confidence interval: 1.31-2.32). Other characteristics positively associated with pregnancy attempts included younger age at diagnosis, longer time since diagnosis, having a partner (at diagnosis or at survey), and having a history of infertility before cancer diagnosis. Use of fertility preservation strategies was uncommon in our cohort but was associated with attempting pregnancy after cancer. Ensuring access to fertility preservation methods may help adolescent and young adult cancer survivors to plan and initiate future fertility.

Authors: Anderson, Chelsea; Fitz, Victoria; Deal, Allison; Getahun, Darios; Kwan, Marilyn L; Mersereau, Jennifer E; Kushi, Lawrence H; Chao, Chun R; Nichols, Hazel B

Fertil Steril. 2023 Mar;119(3):475-483. Epub 2022-12-17.

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