How do you feel about fertility and parenthood? The voices of young female cancer survivors
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Young adult cancer survivors are often unaware of their fertility status and uninformed regarding their fertility and fertility preservation options. This qualitative research study explores the fertility and parenthood concerns of reproductive-age female cancer survivors and how they make parenthood decisions.
Population- and clinic-based recruitment methods were used to identify a diverse group of survivors between the ages of 18 and 34 years. Our final sample size included 22 participants who attended one of seven focus groups. We used cross-case, inductive analysis to identify themes.
The following main themes were identified: (1) A hopeful but worried approach to fertility and parenthood, (2) Frustration with a lack of choice or control over fertility, (3) Young survivors want information about their fertility, (4) Young survivors want better continuity of care in survivorship, (5) Cancer diagnosis and related fertility problems introduce relationship challenges, and (6) Decisions about parenthood are complicated.
The diverse group of young cancer survivors in this study identified several common needs and concerns regarding fertility and parenthood. This study illustrates that young survivors could benefit from improved information regarding their fertility and parenthood options throughout survivorship, better coordination of medical care, and support navigating many emotional and practical issues that arise when considering their reproductive and parenthood options.
KeywordsFertility Parenthood Reproduction Cancer Survivorship Adolescent Young adult
This study was supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship (120500-PFT-11-008-01-CPPB) and Moores UCSD Cancer Center Institutional Research Grant (70-002) from the American Cancer Society.
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