Tara's Thoughts

Fertility preservation

September 18, 2019

If you're of reproductive age and diagnosed with cancer, the very treatments that can help you survive - things like chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery - can also render you infertile.

The good news is technologies exist and are available to help preserve fertility before treatment starts.

But delays in starting cancer treatment are associated with a worse prognosis. So, there's only a very small window of time between a cancer diagnosis and the beginning of treatment for decisions to be made, and actions to be taken, about fertility preservation.

Fertility preservation is a big decision for anyone, let alone when you're facing a cancer diagnosis. It's complex, confusing and pressured. There's also no rapid referral system to quickly match cancer patients with fertility specialists.

Today in the Assembly I moved a motion calling for the investigation of the feasibility of establishing a Territory-wide fertility preservation service for Canberrans of a reproductive age diagnosed with cancer or another serious disease.

This would be a more streamlined, rapid process, so patients and their treating specialists can make early, informed, supported decisions about fertility preservation. This would then allow any fertility preservation measures to be undertaken as quickly and efficiently as possible – thereby allowing for treatment of the cancer or disease to also start without delay.

It passed unanimously.