Determinants of access to fertility preservation in women with breast cancer

Sanghoon Lee, Elke Heytens, Fred Moy, Sinan Ozkavukcu, Kutluk Oktay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To evaluate socioeconomic, demographic, and medical factors that influence the referral pattern - either before cancer treatment for fertility preservation (FP, early referral) or post-chemotherapy for assisted reproductive technology (PCART, delayed referral) - in women with breast cancer. Design: Secondary analysis. Setting: Academic medical centers. Patient(s): Three hundred fourteen patients with breast cancer who were counseled for FP (n = 218) or PCART (n = 96) from June 1999 to July 2009. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): Factors favoring early referrals. Result(s): Mean age at diagnosis was higher in FP vs. PCART (35.3 ± 4.5 years vs. 33.9 ± 4.7 years). Ninety percent presented with cancer stage 1 or 2. From 2000 to 2009 the proportion of referrals for FP increased continually. In 2009, nearly all (95.5%) were for FP. The majority (63.8%) was referred from an academic center. Patients with a family history of breast cancer were more likely to consult for FP (75.2% vs. 64.3% without). There was no association with occupation, income, race, ethnicity, obstetric history, and prior infertility treatment. Only 22.9% of those counseled in PCART, compared with 45.0% in the FP group, proceeded with a procedure. Conclusion(s): There has been an increasing trend within the last 10 years for early referral of breast cancer patients to FP. Factors favoring early referrals are older age, early-stage cancer, family history of breast cancer, and academic center involvement. Those seen before cancer treatment are more likely to receive an intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1932-1936
Number of pages5
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • access
  • chemotherapy
  • fertility preservation
  • referral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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