Ovarian stimulation and emergency in vitro fertilization for fertility preservation in cancer patients

Nadav Michaan, Gila Ben-David, Dalit Ben-Yosef, Beni Almog, Ariel Many, David Pauzner, Joseph B. Lessing, Ami Amit, Foad Azem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the outcome of ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization (IVF) in women undergoing fertility preservation prior to chemotherapy compared with healthy patients with infertility due to tubal factor. Study design: Case control, retrospective study in an academic IVF unit. The study participants were 21 cancer patients and 1 patient with focal proliferative glomerulosclerosis, undergoing emergency IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI; Group A) and 22 patients undergoing IVF for tubal factor (Group B). All patients underwent controlled ovarian stimulation, ovum pick-up, and embryo freezing or transfer. The outcome measures included: dose of gonadotropins, mean estradiol and progesterone levels, length of stimulation, number of retrieved oocytes, number of 2 pronuclei zygotes, fertilization rate, and clinical pregnancy rate. Student's t-test was used for assessment of group comparisons. Results: Patients in Group A (mean age 32.8 ± 5.7 years) underwent 22 emergency IVF cycles for fertility preservation prior to chemotherapy. The mean number of days until human chorionic gonadotropin administration was 10.4 ± 4.8. Eleven cycles involved normal insemination while nine involved ICSI. In one cycle three arrested immature oocytes were retrieved, and in one cycle no oocytes were retrieved. Donor sperm was used in 9 cycles. Tamoxifen was part of the treatment protocol in 6 IVF cycles of breast cancer patients. The mean age of the women in Group B was 34 ± 4.2 years. There were no significant differences in any of the main outcome measures between the two groups. Thawed embryos were transferred in four cancer patients: two patients had colon cancer, one had breast cancer and one had pseudomyxoma peritonei. Two of these four women conceived and gave birth to healthy newborns. Conclusions: Emergency IVF is a promising approach for preserving fertility in cancer patients. Current treatment protocols offer a minimal time delay until chemotherapy is commenced, and the ovarian stimulation outcomes are comparable to those of women with tubal factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-177
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer patients
  • Embryo freezing
  • Emergency IVF outcome
  • Fertility preservation


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