Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital Establishes Fertility Preservation Program for Long-Term Pediatric Cancer Survivors

Program aims to prevent or decrease the late effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery

Fertility Preservation Program

Physicians and clinicians at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital’s Children’s Cancer Institute are working to enhance the quality of life for long-term pediatric cancer survivors through a new fertility preservation program.

Most children and young adults with cancer become long-term survivors. A major focus of the field of survivorship is to enhance quality of life by preventing or decreasing the late effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. As survivors have entered adulthood, attention to impaired fertility has increased.

The new fertility preservation program will inform patients, their parents and partners of the risks of their disease or planned treatment, discuss options for fertility preservation prior to any therapies, and educate survivors about potential interventions to enhance fertility. Preservation interventions include sperm banking for male patients, and ovarian tissue cryopreservation and egg freezing for female patients.

The program’s first successful ovarian tissue cryopreservation procedure was performed by Keith Kuenzler, M.D. in 2021 on a child with high-risk neuroblastoma. Before the six-hour surgery to remove her primary tumor, Dr. Kuenzler removed her left ovary, and the fertility program team safely packed and transported it to the University of Pittsburgh where it was processed and frozen for long-term storage.

The Children’s Cancer Institute at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital plans to offer fertility preservation services to pediatric oncology patients treated by the Children’s Cancer Institute, including standard of care and experimental procedures, in partnership with one or more large academic medical centers that offer processing of tissues for long-term storage. Expansion of services may include offering the program to additional children and young adults treated at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and patients treated for specialties throughout the Hackensack Meridian Health network.

Learn more about our advancements in pediatric oncology at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital.

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