More young cancer patients to have access to cutting-edge fertility preservation

Kate Stern
Head of the Women’s Fertility Preservation Service, Associate Professor Kate Stern
16 September 2019 | Cancer

A pioneering service to transport, freeze and store reproductive tissue for young cancer patients is being led by a team of fertility specialists at the Royal Women’s Hospital, thanks to a generous grant from Sony Foundation.

Today at the Fertility Society of Australia annual conference in Hobart, Head of the Women’s Fertility Preservation Service, Associate Professor Kate Stern, will launch the National Ovarian and Testicular tissue Transport and Cryopreservation Service (NOTTCS).

The service – the first of its kind in Australia - will enable medical professionals nationwide to offer fertility-preserving treatment to patients, including young people of reproductive age, undergoing serious treatment that puts their fertility at risk, such as cancer treatment.

Currently, only 4 per cent of young women and 1 in 4 young men undergo fertility preservation before chemotherapy, despite research showing infertility is the number one issue that has an identified impact on a young person’s quality of life following cancer.

Associate Professor Kate Stern says she is thrilled to be able to deliver this exciting new initiative that has already proven to change people’s lives.

“Fertility counselling is an essential part of cancer management mandated by international guidelines. But despite this, many at-risk young cancer patients do not know about the options out there to preserve their fertility,” says A/Professor Stern.

“This service will enable tissue to be collected, transported and cryopreserved in Melbourne from patients right around Australia. It will give access to state-of-the-art fertility preservation to young people who might have thought that it’s the end of the road for their fertility.

“With the support of Sony Foundation, this service will now be available nationally.”

Sophie Ryan, Sony Foundation CEO, said: “Sony Foundation’s funding will ensure this innovative fertility service is available for all young people diagnosed with cancer.  No longer will young people miss out on this treatment due to barriers such as lack of access for regional patients, cost and time restrictions. But more importantly, providing access will give young people facing cancer hope and the opportunity to focus on life after cancer.

“Kate Stern’s team have a long history of providing fertility preservation expertise including tissue, egg and sperm freezing, counselling and support to patients affected by cancer and other fertility threatening, medical conditions. With their help, this service will lead the way in this space.”

About Sony Foundation

Sony Foundation Australia is the charitable arm of the Sony Group of Companies in Australia. Its aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of young Australians through social change, positive experiences, empowerment and collaboration. Sony Foundation brings together the unique assets of the Sony companies to combine entertainment and philanthropy to inspire its partners and the general public to raise significant funds for youth causes. Since 1998, Sony Foundation has raised more than $33 million for youth related causes. www.sonyfoundation.org

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