It is no secret that cancer treatment can cause fertility issues for patients later on down the road, and though there have been some solutions for adults, there haven’t been any for children yet.
That’s about to change, though, as the Associated Press reports that some children’s hospital have a new approach to this.
The hospitals would be removing and freezing immature ovary and testes tissue, with the hope of late putting in back in at adulthood when the patients want to start families.
Dr. John Lantos, bioethics chief at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, says that this offering to children poses no ethical problems “as long as there’s informed consent and a desire to do it.”
Federal guidelines say there should be minimal risk to children involved in research, and risks need to be weighed against potential benefits. “Kids themselves when they grow up would likely appreciate having that (fertility) option,” he said.
“We try to be thoughtful about the fact that their main focus and ours is on the survival of the child,” said Dr. Erin Rowell, a surgeon at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, regarding the families of children who have cancer.
“That often is the one piece of information that gives them a glimmer of hope — that we believe that their children will live long enough to grow into adulthood and have their own family,” she later said.
What do you think about this potential game-changer for kids undergoing cancer treatment? Feel free to comment below and start the conversation.