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Can loss of fertility in a woman be reversed?



My sister underwent chemotherapy for leukaemia as a child (in the early 90s). Unfortunately, no one at the time told us that she would be infertile and no one offered her the option of storing her eggs of the future. Now she has been told that she is infertile. Is there any definitive way to confirm this? Is there any chance this could be reversed? Could someone please advise me as what to do regarding trying to make her fertile again? Many thanks.
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463339 tn?1207532884
Yes you are correct.  I work at a fertilty clinic (I am an embryologist) so I have easy access and your question intrigued me. Happy to help!
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Avatar universal
Thanks again for your help, but what is an RE? Reproductive Endocronologist?
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Avatar universal
Its a simple blood test.  I think she needs to get a second opinion.  Depending on the type of chemo and the extent of the cancer, there is definitely still a chance she is fertile.  I would tell her to consult an RE.  I spoke with an RE today and they said if she had chemo before puberty her chances of being fertile after chemo are higher.
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Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply,
How does one look at hormone levels?
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Avatar universal
Well unfortunately if she went through this all before she hit puberty, that fertility preservation would not have been an option.  The success rate for freezing oocytes is lower than 3%, because there is no real good way yet to freeze.  One thing I did thing was important to say is that embryos that are frozen for a "long time" do not go bad.  They can basically be frozen forever with no known research to suggest they will go "bad".  

Plus your body is really picky, the embryo would never survive to birth if it was not healthy enough to be carried to term.

I would suggest looking at her hormone levels, because this is a good indication of her fertility.  If they just assume because she had chemo she is infertile she should pursue it further.  Unfortunately chemo normally does cause sterility but I would want PROOF if I was her.
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Avatar universal
Your sister can use a donor egg. This is always an option.

Eggs can only be frozen only as embrios, and embrios frozen for so long may be of bed quality. Giving a child hormonal treatment and IVF for egg collection also has side effects. Especially if there is no guarantee that the embrios can be used after so many years.

Your sister should see a fertility specialist. This is the only way to confirm the diagnosis.
Not all chemotherapy drugs cause infertility.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for your sister. Good luck.
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