Oncofertility pp 447-458 | Cite as

Choosing Life When Facing Death: Understanding Fertility Preservation Decision-Making for Cancer Patients

  • Shauna L. Gardino
  • Linda L. Emanuel
Part of the Cancer Treatment and Research book series (CTAR, volume 156)


On a fundamental biological level, humans are programmed to reproduce; hormonal and physiological influences are reinforced by social pressures and structures that urge parenthood in most cultures. The inability to reproduce usually causes distress and suffering among men and women alike. The advent of assisted reproductive technologies such as embryo/egg banking and in vitro fertilization has changed the face of reproduction, offering the possibility of parenting to a wider range of individuals who formerly were unable to reproduce. Although these controversial technologies have arguably blurred the boundaries of what it means to be a family or to parent a child, their wide use reveals that reproduction, particularly biological reproduction, holds great value.


Cancer Survivor Fertility Preservation Pediatric Cancer Patient Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation False Hope 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by the Oncofertility Consortium NIH 8UL1DE019587, 5RL1HD058296.


  1. 1.
    World Health Organization. The Safe Motherhood Initiative and Beyond. 2007. Accessed June 30, 2009.
  2. 2.
    Grabill WH. Effect of the war on the birth rate and postwar fertility prospects. Am J Sociol. 1944; 50:107–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Temkin E. Driving through: postpartum care during world war II. Am J Pub Health. 1999; 89:587–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kelly JF. Deploying soldiers put family plans on ice; Sperm deposits seen as hedge against war-related infertility, casualties. Washington Post. 2003 February 4:B01–02.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Thomson R. California Cryobank Protects Our Protectors. Accessed February 9, 2009.
  6. 6.
    Kanniappan S, Jeyapaul MJ, Kalyanwala S. Desire for motherhood: exploring HIV-positive women’s desires, intentions and decision-making in attaining motherhood. AIDS Care. 2008; 20:625–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Morgan PS, King RB. Why have children in the 21st century? Biological predisposition, social coercion, rational choice. Eur J Popul. 2001; 17:3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fan F, Zou Y, Ma A, Yue Y, Mao W, Ma X. Hormonal changes and somatopsychologic manifestations in the first trimester of pregnancy and post partum. Int J Gynecol Obstet. 2009; 105:46–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Klueger J, Cray D, Kher U, Sieger M. What mother nature teaches us about motherhood. Time. 2000; 155(19):58–60, 62.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Storey AE, Walsh CJ, Quinton RL, Wynne-Edwards KE. Hormonal Correlates of parental responsiveness in new and expectant fathers. Evol Hum Behav. 2000; 21:79–95.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chodorow NJ. The reproduction of mothering. Berkeley: University of California Press; 1999.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Raymond JG. Women as wombs: reproductive technologies and the battle over women’s freedom. San Francisco: Harper; 1993.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    de Marneffe D. Maternal desire: on children, love, and the inner life. New York: Little, Brown, and Company; 2004.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Callahan JC. Reproduction, ethics and the law: feminist perspectives. Bloomington: Indiana University Press; 1995.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Baumeister RF, Catanese KR, Vohs KD. Is there a gender difference in strength of sex drive? Theoretical views, conceptual distinctions, and a review of relevant evidence. Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2001; 5:242–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Darwin CR. The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray; 1871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Shimmin LC, Chang BH-J, Li W-H. Male-driven evolution of DNA sequences. Nature. 1993; 362:745–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Singh RS, Kulathinal RJ. Male sex drive and the masculinization of the genome. BioEssays. 2005; 27:518–25.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rypma CB. Biological bases of the paternal response. Fam Coord. 1976; 25:335–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Berger LM, Carlson MJ, Bzostek SH, Osborne C. Parenting practices of resident fathers: the role of marital and biological ties. J Marriage Fam. 2008; 70:625–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Halle C, Dowd T, Fowler C, Rissel K, Hennessy K, MacNevin R, Nelson MA. Supporting fathers in the transition to parenthood. Contemp Nurse. 2008; 31:57–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Brannigan RE. Fertility preservation in adult male cancer patients. In: Woodruff TK, Snyder KA, Eds. Oncofertility: fertility preservation for cancer survivors. New York: Springer; 2007:28–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Revel A, Revel-Vick S. Pediatric fertility preservation: is it time to offer testicular tissue cryopreservation? Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2008; 282:143–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    van den Berg H, Repping S, van der Veen F. Parental desire and acceptance of spermatogonial stem cell cryopreservation in boys with cancer. Hum Reprod. 2007; 22:594–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tschudin S, Bitzer J. Psychological aspects of fertility preservation in men and women affected by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Hum Reprod Update. 2009; 1:1–11.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Loscalzo MJ, Clark KL. The psychosocial context of cancer-related infertility. In: Woodruff TK, Snyder KA, Eds. Oncofertility: fertility preservation for cancer survivors. New York: Springer; 2007: 180–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Evans GD, Fogarty K. The Hidden Benefits of Being an Involved Father. Family, Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Accessed September 3, 2009.
  28. 28.
    Arras JD, Blustein J. Reproductive responsibility and long-acting contraceptives. Hastings Cent Rep. 1995; 25:S27–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Cassidy L. That many of us should not parent. Hypatia. 2006; 21:40–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Sohl SJ, Moyer A. Refining the conceptualization of a future-oriented self-regulatory behavior: proactive coping. Pers Individ Dif. 2009; 47:139–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Snyder CR, Rand KL, King EA, Feldman DB, Woodward JT. “False” hope. J Clin Psychol. 2002; 58:1003–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northwestern University, The Oncofertility ConsortiumChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Buehler Center on Aging, Health and Society, Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations