Doctors aim to save fertility of children with cancer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The treatment beating back 9-year-old Dylan Hanlon's cancer may also be destroying his chances of fathering his own children when he grows up.
Upset that doctors didn't make that risk clear, his mother, Christine, tracked down an experiment that just might salvage Dylan's future fertility. Between chemo sessions, the pair flew hundreds of miles from their Florida home to try it.
Many of the cancer treatments that can save patients' lives also may cost their ability to have babies later in life. Young adults have options — bank some sperm, freeze embryos or eggs. Children diagnosed before puberty don't.
With childhood cancer survival reaching 80 percent, there's a growing need to find ways to preserve these youngsters' fertility — and patients like Dylan are on the front edge of research that's banking testicular cells and ovarian tissue to try.
"There are viable options, and they are on the doorstep," says Dr. Kyle Orwig of the University of Pittsburgh.