Medical hope, legal pitfalls: Potential legal issues in the emerging field of oncofertility

Gregory Dolin*, Dorothy E. Roberts, Lina M. Rodriguez, Teresa K. Woodruff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


The United States annually spends over $200 billion on cancer treatment and research [1]. Over the past several decades, tremendous progress has been made in combating this disease. The 5-year survival rate for cancer has increased from 35% in 1950-1954 to 67% in 1996-2004. Moreover, over the last 40 years, survival rates for childhood cancer have risen from 20 to 81% [2]. However, the very success of new and improved therapies has created a host of problems that were not previously considered. One of the results of the increased rate of post-cancer survival is the commensurate desire of former cancer patients to return to healthy lives, which for many includes having children. Unfortunately, for many this desire is difficult to fulfill, because the medication that succeeded in battling cancer is also quite often toxic to the reproductive organs. Thus, many people are able to live longer lives, yet they feel that their lives are incomplete because they became infertile. Whereas in the past fertility was not even part of the discussion when deciding on the proper cancer treatment, now it is a top concern of many newly diagnosed cancer patients [3]. In response to this concern, medical researchers are investigating several approaches (many of which are described in this book) to preserve cancer patients' reproductive options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOncofertility
Subtitle of host publicationEthical, Legal, Social, and Medical Perspectives
Editorsteresa Woodruff, Sarah Rodriguez, Lisa Campo-Engelstein, Laurie Zoloth
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2010

Publication series

NameCancer Treatment and Research
ISSN (Print)0927-3042

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Dolin, G., Roberts, D. E., Rodriguez, L. M., & Woodruff, T. K. (2010). Medical hope, legal pitfalls: Potential legal issues in the emerging field of oncofertility. In T. Woodruff, S. Rodriguez, L. Campo-Engelstein, & L. Zoloth (Eds.), Oncofertility: Ethical, Legal, Social, and Medical Perspectives (pp. 111-134). (Cancer Treatment and Research; Vol. 156).