As cancers are diagnosed in patients at a younger and younger age, the need for fertility preservation increases. Board certified, northland reproductive endocrinologist Dan Gehlbach, MD, of Midwest Reproductive Center (MRC), has worked with couples and individuals to help them maintain their ability to conceive and have a child. Advancements in the process of quick tissue freezing, called vitrification, also contribute to success.
Men who are diagnosed with testicular cancer or other diagnosis that may leave them infertile or sterile can be referred to Dr. Gehlbach who helps to preserve their ability to have children. With just a few days’ notice, MRC can complete a patient physical, history and lab work, and collect a sperm sample for preservation in liquid nitrogen for storage in MRC’s lab.
Treating women is not as simple because the ovaries must be stimulated and oocytes retrieved. "We recognize that when patients receive a life-altering diagnosis such as cancer, reproductive issues are often not initially considered," Dr. Gehlbach says. "We have protocols to help men, women and couples, on very short notice, preserve their ability to have children."
If time allows, couples can undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) after which embryos are frozen for future implantation.
Fertilization preservation also is available for women who, for various reasons, want to bank their eggs and wait to conceive later in life. Women over 40 experience a high rate of infertility and pregnancy loss due to aneuploidy. Harvesting and freezing oocytes for use later improves their chances of a healthy outcome.
"Patients who are facing treatment that may affect their fertility, and who still want to conceive, should be referred for a consultation," says Dr. Gehlbach. "This field of medicine is very personal, and we work to help couples fulfill their dreams of having a family."
To learn more, call 913.780.4300.
Dan Gehlbach, MD
Dr. Gehlbach earned his medical degree at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He completed an OB/GYN residency at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and a reproductive endocrinology fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Gehlbach is board-certified in infertility, obstetrics and gynecology, and reproductive endocrinology. He performs robotic, laparoscopic and hysteroscopic surgery, IVF and intrauterine insemination (IUI).