Quirónsalud Valencia and Torrevieja Hospitals and Quirónsalud Dexeus Murcia Assisted Reproduction Institute along with Quirónsalud Foundation have launched a support programme for fertility preservation free-of-cost to cancer patients, provided that there is no contraindication to it and meet the requirements established, aimed at all those patients who undergo cancer treatment till the yearly quota of the Quirónsalud Foundation is filled up.
The programme has been promoted by these hospitals as certain types of cancer are appearing at an ever increasing early age and the chances of cure and remission of the disease thanks to the advanced treatments applied.
The aim of this initiative is to offer current advances in reproductive medicine to the cancer patients, especially with regards to cryobiology of ovarian tissue, gametes and embryos for fertility preservation and to ensure they have a chance to be mothers and fathers after their recovery.
How do cancer treatments affect fertility?
Although cancer treatments have advanced as of today cause fewer side effects to the patients, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can still affect fertility. Surgical treatment of the reproductive organs can also affect fertility either fully or partly.
While the most common causes of fertility problems in men who overcome cancer are chemotherapy and radiation therapy, both treatments produce damage to the semen, in the case of women their fertility can also be affected by any treatment that damages immature egg cells, puts the hormonal balance of the body out of order or damages the reproductive organs.
What preservation techniques does the programme offer?
The free-of-cost fertility preservation programme for cancer patients at Quirónsalud consists of a vitrification treatment, in the case of women, thanks to which their egg cells are preserved at very low temperature but without freezing thanks to an extreme elevation of viscosity during cooling performed at high speed. These oocytes are protected and submerged in liquid nitrogen to ensure their proper preservation. In the case of men, the hospital offers the freezing of semen samples to preserve in liquid nitrogen (-196ºC) so that they can be stored with no time limit under optimal conditions.
How to opt for the preservation programme?
The cancer patients who wish to preserve their gametes should inform their specialist prior to their treatment, who shall refer them on a priority basis to Quirónsalud Valencia and Quirónsalud Dexeus Murcia Assisted Reproduction Institute where they will be attended within 48 hours. There they will be briefed about the following steps to be taken for fertility preservation, as well as on the assisted reproduction techniques to be performed after cancer treatment.
The fertility preservation treatment will be carried out free-of-cost by Quirónsalud hospitals at Quirónsalud Valencia and Quirónsalud Dexeus Murcia including the cost of maintenance of the preserved gametes for five years and its funding shall be borne by the Quirónsalud Foundation. Once the cancer treatment has finished and sufficient time has passed by as required by medical criteria, the patients may undergo assisted reproduction treatment using their preserved gametes.
Quirónsalud is the largest hospital group in Spain and the third largest in Europe. The group has more than 35,000 employees in 120 plus healthcare facilities, including 45 hospitals with 6,800 hospital beds. It employs the most advanced technology and a large team of highly specialised and internationally renowned professionals. Some of its facilities include Teknon Medical Centre, Ruber International, Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital, Jiménez Díaz Foundation, Quirónsalud Barcelona Hospital, Dexeus University Hospital, Gipuzkoa Policlinic, etc.
The Group strives for the promotion of teaching (eight of its hospitals are university hospitals) and medical and scientific research (it has a Healthcare Research Institute under FJD, the only private research centre accredited by the State Secretariat for Research, Development and Innovation).
Likewise, its care service is organised in transversal units and networks that allow to optimise the experience gained at various facilities and translating its research into clinical practice. Currently, Quirónsalud is developing more than 1,600 research projects across Spain and many of its facilities play a leading role in this area, and are pioneers in different specialities such as oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, gynaecology, and neurology, among others.