There has been increased attention paid to cancer-related infertility and fertility preservation. However, It is essential to understand the way cancer patients decide whether or not to pursue fertility preservation has not been thoroughly examined.
The data was collected from 34 interviews with breast cancer women before 40 years of age who contemplated fertility preservation before cancer treatment. Fully transcribed interviews were coded through a three-staged inductive process.
Three sets of factors that shaped the respondents’ decision-making process regarding fertility preservation treatment options were identified: perceived benefits (e.g., ability to use ‘younger’ eggs in the future), inhibiting concerns, and influential relationships.
Respondents saw their major fertility preservation decision as choosing whether or not to pursue egg/embryo banking. The decision-making process was complicated and included health-related and personal considerations, with many respondents reported a lack of support services for fertility issues.
The study concluded that greater attention needs to be placed on presenting patients with a broader range of options. Those who counsel patients regarding fertility preservation decisions should be aware of the influence of relationship dynamics, more comprehensive health care concerns, and fertility histories on these decisions.