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Oncofertility

AYA teens and Dr. Albritton

Consultations and referrals

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At Cook Children's, we believe that focusing on the future fertility of our patients is an extension of Cook Children's Promise to improve the health of every child. Children and young adults with a variety of illnesses, such as cancer, rheumatologic, genetic and endocrine conditions, among others, may require treatment that can have a serious impact on reproductive organs. This can make it difficult for them to start families of their own in the future.

Our goal is to help patients and their families make informed decisions about fertility preservation. Our oncofertility team helps patients and their families better understand the impact current treatments may have on future fertility, as well as options to help preserve fertility.

"Cook Children's Promise extends beyond treatment and into survivorship issues, such as fertility. We are excited about this new program and believe it's a safe way to offer hope to patients who otherwise would not have an option."
– Karen Albritton, M.D., medical director, Adolescent and Young Adult program at Cook Children's Hematology and Oncology Center.

We educate patients and families on the options available to them based on the diagnosis and treatment plan, and offer information on available clinical services and the latest research in oncofertility. We work closely with national and local oncofertility experts to expand access to health services that are not routinely used by pediatric patients.

Services we offer

Fertility education and navigation services

Upon diagnosis, you will meet with our oncofertility navigator for an initial counseling session. During this session, you will receive:

  • An individualized fertility-risk assessment based on age, planned medical treatment and past treatment.
  • Education about available fertility preservation options.
  • Printed materials from trusted sources for further reading.
  • Referrals to supportive services, such as Pastoral Care and Psychology.

If your family wishes to pursue fertility preservation services, our fertility navigator will facilitate the next steps in the process to ensure a smooth integration with the current treatment plan, including:

  • Appointments with a reproductive endocrinologist.
  • Coordination of procedures.
  • Assistance with financial resources.

Reproductive health during and after treatment:

  • Reproductive health is an important aspect of overall health and wellness. Our fertility navigator will provide additional education about reproductive health and fertility during and after treatment. Additional monitoring will be arranged as needed, as well as referrals to providers at Cook Children's and in our community.

Clinical services

In collaboration with expert medical providers in our community, we are able to provide the following fertility preservation options to our patients.

Male patients

  • Sperm cryopreservation
    Sperm is collected and frozen for future use. Note: this procedure is only available to patients who have gone through puberty.
  • Testicular sperm extraction (TESE)
    Patients who are unable to produce a sperm sample can undergo a surgical procedure to collect sperm for frozen storage. Note: this procedure is only available to patients who have gone through puberty.
  • Shielding of testes
    Patients who receive radiation therapy near their testes can have them covered by a lead shield to protect them from radiation damage.

Female patients

  • Oocyte cryopreservation
    Ovaries are stimulated to produce mature eggs that are collected and frozen for future use. Note: this procedure is only available to female patients who have gone through puberty.
  • Ovarian transposition
    Ovaries are surgically moved out of the field of radiation to reduce risk of radiation damage.
  • Ovarian shielding
    Patients who receive radiation therapy near their ovaries can have them covered by a lead shield to protect them from radiation damage.
  • Hormonal ovarian suppression
    Medication given to decrease the activity of the ovaries and decrease or stop menstrual flow. There is some evidence that this medication also may decrease the negative effects of chemotherapy on immature eggs in the ovary.

Research

As a member of the Oncofertility Consortium's Oncofertility Professional Engagement Network (OPEN), Cook Children's demonstrates its commitment to uphold the highest standards in oncofertility care. Our affiliation with OPEN ensures that we are connected to front-line advances in this specialty program and committed to providing the highest quality of care to our patients. It creates opportunities for us to join collaborative research efforts with the goal of enhancing patient care now, and in the future.

Explore the Oncofertility Consortium

Who we see

Children and young adults with cancer are not the only ones whose future fertility is impacted by illness or treatment. That's why our care goes well beyond oncofertility. Our services are available to a wide range of patients who may have a need for fertility preservation. Some of our most common include:

  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Endocrinology
  • Rheumatology
  • Other conditions where there is a potential for fertility loss

What fertility preservation options are available?

Fertility risks and preservation options are individually assessed by our fertility navigator using best available clinical evidence, information from your doctor and input from our partner fertility doctors.

You will be provided information about all available means of fertility preservation, as well as which options are most appropriate given individual fertility risk, medical needs and planned treatment.

Helpful resources

What about Life After Cancer?

A program for adolescents and young adults

Meet our team

Anna Nackley, M.D.
Reproductive Endocrinology, Center for Assisted Reproduction
Robin Thomas, M.D.
Reproductive Endocrinology, Center for Assisted Reproduction
Robert Kauffman, M.D.
Reproductive Endocrinology, Fort Worth Fertility
Biren Patel, M.D.
Reproductive Endocrinology, Fort Worth Fertility
Olivia C. Prebus
MSN, RN, Fertility Navigator
Rachel Rigdon
M.Div., Chaplain

We are here to help.

Have questions or need to make a referral? We can help. If you would like to speak to one of our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-4007.