, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1111-1115
Date: 18 Feb 2009

Fertility Preservation for Young Women with Rectal Cancer—A Combined Approach from One Referral Center

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Up to 6% of women with colorectal cancer are diagnosed in the reproductive age and are at risk for premature ovarian failure and infertility due to pelvic irradiation and chemotherapy.

Study Design

Between 1997 and 2007, six women with rectal carcinoma were referred to the McGill Reproductive Center (Montreal, Canada) for fertility preservation. Following resection of their primary tumor, they were scheduled to undergo pelvic irradiation.


Five patients underwent laparoscopic ovarian lateral transposition before radiotherapy in order to relocate their ovaries outside the radiation field. A concomitant ovarian wedge resection was performed for ovarian cryopreservation. In two of these women, before dissecting the ovarian cortical tissue for cryopreservation, all visible follicles were aspirated. The sixth patient who had had low anterior resection underwent hormonal ovarian stimulation followed by oocyte retrieval and embryo vitrification.


Fertility preservation in women with rectal cancer is feasible. This includes laparoscopic ovarian transposition and cryopreservation of ovarian tissue, embryo, or oocyte.