• Fertility preservation

    leslie-appiah-md
    Dr. Leslie Appiah

    Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can impact an individual’s ability to have biological children. The Fertility Preservation Program at UK HealthCare helps cancer patients preserve their fertility before they undergo medical treatment that might affect their ability to have children in the future.

    Also known as oncofertility, fertility preservation allows cancer patients to freeze and store healthy eggs, sperm, embryos or ovarian and testicular tissue before they undergo chemotherapy or radiation. This preservation process is called cryopreservation.  Fertility preservation also includes comprehensive reproductive care in survivorship.


  • Who should consider fertility preservation?

    The Fertility Preservation Program helps individuals who:

    • Have been diagnosed with cancer.
    • Have not yet started treatment or are early in their treatment.
    • Have completed treatment and are in survivorship.

    Fertility preservation options exist for patients including:

    • Men and women under the age of 45.
    • Adolescent males and females.
    • Prepubescent girls and boys.

  • Egg freezing

    This is an option for post-pubertal adolescent and adult females.

    • The patient receives hormonal therapy to stimulate the development and maturation of eggs over the course of two to four weeks.
    • The matured eggs are removed from the ovary during an outpatient procedure, performed while the patient is under sedation.
    • The eggs are frozen and stored until the patient has completed medical treatment and is at low risk of recurrence.
    • The eggs are thawed, fertilized with sperm from the patient’s partner or a donor to make an embryo, and transferred into the patient’s uterus once the patient has completed medical treatment and is at low risk of recurrence.

    Embryo freezing

    This is an option for adolescent and adult females.

    • The patient receives hormonal therapy to stimulate development and maturation of eggs over the course of two to four weeks.
    • The matured eggs are removed from the ovary during an outpatient procedure, performed while the patient is under sedation.
    • The eggs are fertilized with sperm from the patient’s partner or a donor to form embryos, which are then frozen.
    • Once the patient has completed medical treatment and is at low risk of recurrence, the embryos are thawed and transferred into her uterus.

    Ovarian tissue freezing

    This is an option for all females, including girls who have not yet started puberty.

    • Ovarian tissue freezing is an investigational procedure that involves removal of part or all of one ovary through small incisions in the belly, performed while the patient is under anesthesia.
    • The tissue is frozen and stored.
    • Once the patient has completed medical treatment and is at low risk of recurrence, the tissue is thawed and transferred into her pelvis.

    Sperm freezing

    This is an option for adolescent and adult males.

    • The sperm is frozen for future use.
    • After the patient has completed medical treatment, the sperm is thawed and transferred into his partner’s uterus, or combined with an egg to make an embryo and transferred into the uterus.

    Testicular tissue freezing

    This is an option for pre-pubertal males and some adolescent and adult males

    • Testicular tissue is an investigational procedure that involves removal of all or part of one testicle under anesthesia.
    • The testicular tissue is frozen for future use.
    • After the patient has completed medical treatment and is at low risk of recurrence, the tissue may be used to produce children.

  • Survivorship

    Cancer survivors should be evaluated for reproductive concerns in survivorship.  For more information, please visit The Oncofertility Consortium.

    Financial considerations

    Procedures to preserve fertility can be costly. We will work with you to pursue coverage by your insurance carrier when possible prior to any treatment. Our office also partners with several organizations to help arrange services at a reduced cost if your insurance carrier does not cover your procedures.

  • Additional providers

    • Charity Jones, RN
    • Dianna Holtzhauer, RN
    • Leslee Bertram, RN
    • Christina Conley, RN

  • Listen to a podcast about fertility preservation

    Options for patients with cancer

    Leslie Appiah, MD

  • Patient appointments

    For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 859-218-4431.

    Clinic locations

    Markey Cancer Center
    Whitney Hendrickson Building
    800 Rose Street
    Lexington, KY

    Pediatric Subspecialty Clinic
    Kentucky Clinic, 2nd floor
    740 S. Limestone
    Lexington, KY