Practices and Attitudes Regarding Women Undergoing Fertility Preservation: A Survey of the National Physicians Cooperative

Pietro Bortoletto, Rafael Confino, Brigid M. Smith, Teresa K. Woodruff, Mary Ellen Pavone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To describe physician attitudes and variations in oncofertility treatment strategies.

METHODS: An exploratory online survey administered between December 1, 2014 and January 27, 2015 to 185 members of the National Physicians Cooperative (NPC).

RESULTS: Twenty-eight percent (52 of 185) of NPC members responded to the online survey. Fifty percent of respondents were obstetrician-gynecologists working largely in academic medical centers. Thirty-eight percent stated that 14 was the youngest age they felt comfortable performing oocyte retrievals with 35% stating that any age was acceptable as long as they were postpubertal. Short stimulation protocols, utilizing a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist (86%), were more common than long stimulation or microdose Lupron flare protocols (23% and 18%), respectively, which utilize a GnRH agonist. Random start protocols were used by 77% and over 90% perform luteal phase starts. When using random start protocols, 64% use gonadotropins only and 32% start GnRH antagonists alone for several days before starting gonadotropins. Fifty-five percent of physicians were comfortable stimulating ovarian cancer patients only after clearance from an oncologist. Aromatase inhibitors (77%) were significantly more common than tamoxifen (24%) for stimulation in breast cancer patients (p = 0.0006). When considering ovarian stimulation after chemotherapy, 24% expressed comfort only if blood counts are normal, 38% tend to wait 3 months. Regarding experimental treatment, 83% report discussing the use of GnRH agonists alone and 64% of clinics offer ovarian tissue cryopreservation.

CONCLUSIONS: This study underlines the wide variation that exists in stimulation and phase start techniques, patient selection, comfort levels, and cancer type-specific decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-449
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of adolescent and young adult oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • National Physicians Cooperative
  • cancer
  • fertility preservation
  • oncofertility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology


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