Jul 29, 2022 Word for Word Media
We hear how 18-year-old Lucy* underwent fertility preservation after being diagnosed with dysgerminoma of the right ovary when she was 15, under the advice of her mother. Lucy (18) stays in Johannesburg, Gauteng with her parents. She is currently in her Matric year. Dysgerminoma of the right ovary In July 2019, 15-year-old Lucy noticing a swelling in her stomach. She thought she was bloated but by September it was even more swollen and getting bigger. Lucy’s mom took her to a GP as they thought maybe her appendix was inflamed. The GP agreed saying it could be the appendix and referred her to another doctor.  “This doctor told me I was pregnant. I was so confused as…

Jun 1, 2022 Word for Word Media
Halalisiwe Khumalo shares her intimate journey of having two unsuccessful in vitro fertilisation attempts and how she still longs to be a mother. Halalisiwe Khumalo (37) lives in Lephalale, Limpopo with her husband. Hodgkin’s lymphoma In June 2019, Halalisiwe felt a lump in her neck. “It wasn’t painful but it also wasn’t going away so I went to the doctor. He was quick to refer me for a biopsy. The result came back as Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I was devasted, cancer was all foreign to me; there is no family history of it. I was in complete denial and wanted to go for a…

Mar 24, 2022 Word for Word Media
Kevin and Donna Dudley’s nine years of marriage has been filled with an ectopic pregnancy, fertility difficulties, and a cancer diagnosis. Yet, they have three gorgeous children. Kevin (43) and Donna Dudley (38) live in Gauteng with their three children: Dylan (6), Leila (3) and Mathew (1). Ectopic pregnancy Donna had an unfortunate ectopic pregnancy in 2014. “It was quite scary as the doctor had missed it. She unfortunately ruptured and started bleeding internally, causing her to lose her right fallopian tube. After Donna lost her right fallopian tube, we had to go on a series of treatments and have numerous scans,” Kevin…

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…