The Role of a Patient Navigator in Fertility Preservation
As the patient navigator for the Department of Fertility Preservation at Northwestern University, my main concern is the overall emotional well-being of the patient. I have spoken with over 300 patients who have had a recent cancer or autoimmune disease diagnosis. Finding out that you have a life-threatening illness is horrifying, and patients have told me of the emotional rollercoaster that they experience when they are first diagnosed. Many patients will not even think how their treatments may affect their fertility. Likewise, it is not necessarily the first thought on their surgeon’s or oncologist’s mind either. This is not surprising when the first priority is to save the patient’s life. When facing a life-threatening illness with unknown costs, trying to make a decision about their fertility may not be a priority for some patients. However, preserving fertility is important for many patients and should always be discussed regardless of prognosis or income.
KeywordsFertility Preservation Biological Child Patient Navigator Sperm Bank Recent Cancer
This research was supported by the Oncofertility Consortium NIH 8UL1DE019587, 5RL1HD058296.