Of 515 patients referred to the Institute for Fertility Preservation in New York over the past decade, 5% were for non-cancerous conditions -- and this is the fastest growing group, said Kutluk Oktay, M.D., of New York Medical College and director of the institute.
The most common conditions for referral among those who did not have cancer were benign ovarian cysts, recurrent dermoid cysts, systemic lupus erythematosus with renal involvement, Turner's Syndrome, and anemia.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Dr. Oktay described the steadily increasing demand for fertility preservation. "In 1988 we could name those patients who came for fertility preservation, there were so few of them. Now we have more than 300 patients annually," he said.
His retrospective analysis showed that the most frequent indication for referral for fertility preservation was breast cancer (65%), followed by hematologic cancer (15%), gynecologic cancer (7%), gastrointestinal cancer (3%), and other cancers (5%).
However, Dr. Oktay commented, "the focus is shifting."
Although breast cancer patients are the oldest group investigating fertility preservation (mean age 36 years), patients with non-cancerous conditions are considerably younger (mean age 26), and the number of pediatric patients is growing.
In the cohort of 515 patients referred for fertility preservation, 44% (226) went ahead with the procedure; for 14% (72) it was determined to be inappropriate.
The other 42% (217) declined the procedure.