CosBeauty Magazine #86

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CosBeauty is the #BeautyAddict's guide to lifestyle, health and beauty in Australia.
In this issue:
- The 2019 Christmas Gift Guide
- City Skin Detox
- Fool Proof Steps for Party Survival
- Diet is a Dirty Word
- Hair Trends from Catwalk Zimmerman
- Fertility Options for Cancer Survivors

Dr Raewyn Teirney and one of

her specialised fertility nurses.s.

Dr Raewyn Teirney

• Approximately 80-90% of eggs

would survive warming in the future;

• Approximately 50-80% of surviving

eggs would fertilise;

• Approximately 80-90% of fertilised

eggs would develop into embryos;

and

• A single embryo would have a

20-35% chance of developing into

a pregnancy.

(Source: IVF Australia)

‘So, we see that medically, many

women who have been diagnosed with

cancer are able to achieve their dreams

of conceiving, enjoying a healthy

pregnancy and becoming a mother,’

says Dr Teirney.

Often there are only a few days

between diagnosis and beginning

treatment, explains Professor Bill

Ledger who heads up the Fertility

Research Centre at the Royal

Hospital for Women in Sydney. ‘It is

something the oncologists want to

do quickly for obvious reasons. If the

cancer is aggressive, they might not

have much time.

‘The likelihood of these women

achieving their dreams of having a

family is generally quite good,’ says

Professor Ledger. ‘If we can freeze

five or six embryos, or 12 eggs from

someone under 35, then her chance of

having at least one child is better than

fifty-fifty. You can never guarantee,

of course. Things can go wrong –

eggs don’t always fertilise, embryos

don’t always implant, but if we get a

reasonable number in the bank and she

is younger, then it is a better chance.

If a woman is 40 or over then of course

the chances aren’t as high.’

Pre-teens and

pre-pubescent girls

But what of girls who haven’t yet

reached puberty? What are their

options? Australian-led technology

is proving to pave the way globally

for such patients, by freezing ovarian

tissue from pre-pubescent girls with

the plan to graft it once cancer

treatment is completed and when

fertility is required. Melbourne fertility

specialist, Dr Kate Stern, is leading

the advancements in this area and,

to date, her group has taken tissue

from over 400 women and young girls

facing infertility as a result of their

cancer treatment.

‘We have been storing ovarian

tissue for 20 years now,’ she says.

‘Obviously, in the early days, we

weren’t as confident of success,

but in the last few years there has

been enormous progress in research.

Our first birth – twins – was in 2014.

We have now put tissue back into

around 26 patients and have had

five babies. We have only been

storing tissue taken from young

girls for a few years, in collaboration

with the team at the Royal Children’s

Hospital. We have not yet had

any requests to graft tissue into

women who were children at the

time of their cancer treatment.

These patients have not yet reached

an age where they are ready to

become parents, however we are

optimistic that the technology will

be very successful’.

We now get referrals to help

preserve fertility for children and

young women, especially those with

breast cancer, which is one of the

commonest cancers in women of

reproductive age. For these women

with breast cancer, we mainly still

do egg freezing. However there have

been some women who have not

had enough time, so we have taken

ovarian tissue. For some women we

do both.

‘We also currently have a grant

with the Sony Foundation which,

for young patients aged between

13 and 30, covers the cost of transport

and processing, allowing young

people now the opportunity for best

practice fertility preservation, even

if they live a long way away from a

major city. This is such an exciting

opportunity to expand access to care

for all young people who need our

specialised services.’

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