What is Oncofertility?

What is Oncofertility?

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Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. 
The Watkins Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology 
Director, The Oncofertility Consortium 
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

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So about two years ago we created the terminology “Oncofertility” to really describe a union of two fields that we were working, really, at the interface of—that of fertility management and oncology. And we recognized that the chemotherapy and radiation, these life-preserving treatments that were given to cancer patients, were having an impact on their fertility in a very profound way. And so our work was leading to some new basic discoveries in how we might be able to preserve fertility, and so we’ve created this terminology in order to describe this new, emerging field.

And so this started at Northwestern, and we’ve developed this basic clinical interface, and what we recognized is that the patients aren’t just in Chicago. Nor is it always easy for a patient to fly from other sites to our site here at Northwestern. So we began to build bridges to a number of other sites around the nation to ensure that patients were geographically local, near to, where they might be able to be treated for their fertility in a time of impact on their cancer treatment.