Fertility Issues Following Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

André Tichelli; Alicia Rovó


Expert Rev Hematol. 2013;6(4):375-388. 

In This Article

Expert Commentary

Long-term survivors are at risk of late complications interfering with health condition and quality of life after HSCT. Infertility is one among other complications that may occur after transplantation. Today it becomes evident that patients treated with HSCT are at high risk of permanent infertility. Despite not being a life-threatening complication, infertility is associated with significant psychological distress for the recipient of HSCT and his family. Long-term survivors have a legitimate right of becoming parents of children. Today, there are reasonable options to preserve fertility in patients treated with HSCT. For most late effects that may appear after HSCT, surveillance and preemptive interventions are undertaken during long-term follow-up after transplantation. In contrast, fertility preservation needs to be decided and implemented before starting HSCT, and for patients diagnosed with cancer, even before initiation of cancer treatment. Despite high patient's interest in issues of fertility, a number of barriers impede clinicians to discuss overtly the risk of infertility and the option for fertility preservation with many patients undergoing HSCT. In addition, providing information and guidance about fertility preservation raises a number of ethical and legal considerations.