Infertility and fertility preservation

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Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery all can impact reproductive organs in men and women. For example, chemotherapy can lower sperm counts or decrease their movement, leading to the inability to conceive on your own. While sperm counts may rebound in men, it may take months or years.

In women, chemotherapy can lead to premature ovarian failure. In some cases, reproductive organs are permanently affected.

If you are concerned about future fertility following treatment for cancer, ask for a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist who is knowledgeable about fertility preservation and the impact of cancer regimens.

At the Washington University Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, our reproductive endocrinologists have long-standing expertise in fertility preservation (both egg and sperm cryopreservation) as well as in diagnosing and treating infertility issues. The team is the largest board-certified infertility specialty team in the region and is the only in-vitro fertilization clinic in the St. Louis area that is a member of the Society for Assisted Reproduction Technology (SART).

These board-certified specialists can extract and evaluate a woman’s eggs before or after cancer treatment, as well as do pre-implantation testing. They also can monitor ovarian function as a woman ages and suggest when egg preservation is necessary due to a decline in ovarian function.

Men can contact the clinic to discuss sperm banking before or after treatment. They also can obtain a complete semen analysis and viability test in the Center.

For more information about the services available in the Center, call (314) 286-2400 or visit