Dec 2, 2021 Word for Word Media
Genetic counsellor, Kelly Loggenberg, explains the two different types of genetic testing of embryos. Genetic testing of embryos created through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), also known as preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), is the testing of early stage embryos for genetic abnormalities prior to considering them for transfer into the womb.  PGT is comprised of two different tests, Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A) and Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Monogenic Disorders (PGT-M). PGT-A  This test screens embryos created through IVF to determine if the correct amount of genetic material (chromosomes) is present. Typically, an individual has 23 pairs of chromosomes, or 46 chromosomes in total in most cells of the…

Dec 2, 2021 Word for Word Media
Jody Treger tells us how she and her husband, Ari, froze embryos before she started cancer treatment to ensure their baby daughter will have a sibling in the future. Jody Treger (35) lives in Gauteng with her husband, Ari, and their 8-month baby girl. Found breast lump in last trimester Jody was in her last trimester when she found a lump in her breast. “I was advised at the time not to worry about it until after I gave birth. Our beautiful daughter was born in February this year and naturally life was consumed by this incredible tiny human, lack of sleep and general survival. I…

Oct 1, 2021 Word for Word Media
Medical oncologist, Dr Ronwyn van Eeden, highlights the growing need for fertility preservation in young patients with cancer. Of late, there has been an increase in the number of patients under the age of 49 being treated for cancer; it’s estimated that more than 20 000 are diagnosed annually.  The efficacy of cancer treatments has also improved with time, and the possibility of long-term survival and cure is an attainable goal, along with good quality of life. Cancer treatments, however, can affect ovarian function and can cause abnormal semen parameters. It can also cause hormonal balances or functional changes to reproductive organs…

Aug 17, 2021 Word for Word Media
It is with great avidity that SASREG launched The Oncofertility Forum Special Interest Group and hosted the first live webinar on Fertility Treatment Options Currently Available to Oncology Patients, which was sponsored by Ferring. Oncofertility is the bridge that connects the fields of oncology and fertility, allowing cancer patients, male and female alike, the opportunity to preserve their fertility for the future.  Thanks to the efforts of SASREG and interested Oncologists, the field of Oncofertility has gained traction in South Africa in recent years. However, in comparison to some other globally established Oncofertility protocols and communication, it can still be seen as the new…

Aug 2, 2021 Word for Word Media
Many oncology treatments may affect women’s fertility and ability to have children in the future. Thankfully, there are many options available to preserve the eggs in the ovaries before you start your oncology treatment. Dr Lizle Oosthuizen explains further. There are many strategies to limit the damage on the ovaries, such as surgically lifting them out of the area of radiation or using shields. Your doctor may recommend taking, a GnRH agonist, to ‘shut down’ the ovaries during treatment and try to protect them. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been shown to improve future fertility and shouldn’t be relied on alone. …

May 27, 2021 Word for Word Media
Saskia Williams shares the ongoing battle to get medical aids to pay for fertility treatment and the success with Discovery. About IFAASA The Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa (IFAASA) was started by 10 ladies in November 2013. IFAASA is a non-profit company run by volunteers, relying on sponsorship to fund projects. The aim is to educate the public about infertility, to break the silence and stigma surrounding infertility, and to advocate for fair cover from medical aids. When we came together in 2013, a motion was put forward at Discovery’s AGM that same year, asking them to cover infertility. Infertility is…

Mar 29, 2021 Word for Word Media
Dr Lizle Oosthuizen expands on the current options of safeguarding sperm before testicular cancer treatment and answers beneficial questions. All treatment (surgery, chemotherapy and radiation) can affect the ability of the testicle to produce sperm in the future. The options for sperm preservation depend on factors, such as age and current state of health, but time until treatment shouldn’t prevent access to options.  Cryopreservation of ejaculated sperm  The most common method for men and boys who have gone through puberty is to produce a sperm sample by masturbation. Although we recommend a period of 2-5 days between produced samples, they can be…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Chris Venter clarifies when it is safe to start a pregnancy after cancer therapy. Over the past four decades, advancements in early detection and chemotherapeutics have led to dramatic improvements in cancer survival. A large proportion of these survivors are women and men of reproductive age. One of the strongest predictors of emotional well-being is the desire to become a parent. Addressing the patient’s fertility concerns is important prior to, but also during and after cancer therapy.  Common questions that arise are: What effect will cancer treatment have on my fertility? Will the cancer treatment increase my risk of having an abnormal child?…

May 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Chris Venter expands on ovarian tissue cryopreservation – a novel fertility preservation technique for selective clinical cases. Early cancer detection and advances in chemotherapeutic treatment regimens have led to a dramatic increase in cancer survivors.  A large proportion of these survivors are women of reproductive age. Research has shown that one of the major concerns in these cancer survivors is the impact of cancer treatment on their reproductive health.  Fertility-risk assessment and counselling prior to chemotherapy is steadily becoming the standard of care in South Africa. This is in keeping with a holistic approach to the needs of the patient and future quality…

Mar 20, 2020 Word for Word Media
Kristin Smith, a patient navigator in oncofertility care, enlightens us on how she assists newly diagnosed cancer patients with their fertility preservation journey, at Northwestern University’s Lurie Cancer Center, in the USA. Note, this article pertains to practices in America. As a patient navigator, I work with adolescents and young adults whose lives are upended by a major diagnosis like cancer.  Fortunately, modern advancements in cancer treatment protocols, coupled with widespread early detection programmes have led to extended life expectancy and improved survival rates. However, radical surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation can leave patients infertile or unable to have biological…

Feb 3, 2020 Word for Word Media

Dr Chris Venter updates us on the current standing of oncofertility care in South Africa. At the start of a new year, it seems reasonable to take a “surgical pause” and reflect on the past year. What challenges were achieved and what challenges still lie ahead? Eighteen months back when I was tasked to co-ordinate a national collaborate attempt between fertility clinics unified under the South African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG), I was made aware by my overseas mentor, Teresa Woodruff, that this would be a long-term mission, and that the challenges we’re facing in oncofertility care are universal in…

Nov 27, 2019 Word for Word Media
Candice Hamer shares why her baby daughter, Charlotte, is her best present of all after undergoing embryo cryopreservation and facing Stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer. Candice Hamer (32) lives in Meyersdal, Gauteng with her husband, Warren (41), and their five-month-old daughter, Charlotte. Since Warren and Candice got married in 2015, starting a family was always on the cards. Candice fell pregnant in October 2016, but unfortunately lost the baby at nine weeks. A month later, she found a lump high up in her right breast.  She says it was easy to feel and was growing. Diagnostic tests were done and three lesions of…