Utilization and Outcomes of Fertility Preservation Techniques in Women Undergoing Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant

Alexandra Higgins, Zaraq Khan, Charles C. Coddington, Shahrukh K. Hashmi, Mehrdad Hefazi, Hassan Alkhateeb, Mark R. Litzow, William J. Hogan, Elizabeth Cathcart-Rake, Carrie A. Thompson, Mrinal M. Patnaik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Iatrogenic menopause with consequent infertility is a major complication in reproductive-age women undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Recent guidelines recommend a discussion of the possibility of infertility and the options for fertility preservation as part of informed consent before initiation of any cancer-directed therapy, including HCT. Women age 15 to 49 years at the time of allogeneic HCT, between the years 2001 and 2017, were identified from the Mayo Clinic Rochester institutional HCT database. One hundred seventy-seven women were eligible, of whom 49 (28%) were excluded due to documented postmenopausal state or prior hysterectomy. The median age of the cohort was 31 years (range, 15 to 49 years) with median gravidity and parity being G1P1 (range, G0 to G8, P0 to P6). Fifty-four (42%) women were nulligravid at the time of HCT. Eighty-two percent underwent myeloablative conditioning (MAC), whereas 18% underwent reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC). Only 34 women (27%) had documented fertility counseling within 72 hours of diagnosis, and a total of 61 (48%) received fertility counseling prior to HCT. Thirty-eight women (30%) were referred to a reproductive endocrinologist, of whom 13 (10%) underwent assisted reproductive technologies (ART; nine oocyte cryopreservation, four embryo cryopreservation). Of these, nine procedures yielded successful cryopreserved tissue (two completed at outside institutions). The median time to completion of the seven successful ART procedures at Mayo Clinic was 13 days (range, 9 to 15 days). The remainder of women referred to reproductive endocrinology did not undergo ART due to disease severity (68%), financial barriers (20%), and/or low antral follicle count (12%). Ninety-three women (73%) received leuprolide for ovarian suppression prior to conditioning. Three (4%) of 75 women who underwent MAC and were alive >365 days after HCT had spontaneous menstrual recovery after HCT (median time, 14 months; range, 6 to 21 months), in comparison to 10 (50%) of 20 women who underwent RIC and were alive >365 days after HCT (P < .01) (median, 21.5 months; range, 5 to 83 months). In the latter cohort, there were two spontaneous pregnancies, occurring at 71 and 72 months after HCT, respectively. Oncofertility is an emerging field due to an increasing number of young cancer survivors. Herein, we document that even at a large tertiary HCT center, the rate of documented fertility counseling and reproductive endocrinology referrals was low and the rate of ART was even lower. Spontaneous menstrual recovery was rare but more likely in the setting of nonmalignant disease and RIC HCT. A concerted multidisciplinary effort is needed to understand parenthood goals and to explore the impact of HCT on decision making about fertility preservation and parenthood. These efforts could improve oncofertility referral, ART utilization, and reproductive outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1232-1239
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Allogeneic HCT
  • Fertility preservation
  • Hematologic malignancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation

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