Fertility Preservation in Patients with Hematologic Malignancies and Recipients of Hematopoietic Cell Transplants

Alison Wakoff Loren and Suneeta Senapati


Patients with hematologic malignancies and those undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) face a complex set of challenges when considering options for fertility preservation (FP). There are no standard options for pre-pubertal children, and women with hematologic malignancies may not be eligible for standard FP options. Fortunately, initial therapies for most blood cancers are not highly gonadotoxic, affording an important opportunity for post-remission counseling and referrals to fertility specialists. These patients face a high risk of relapse, and many will be referred for autologous or allogeneic (allo)HCT, which carries an extremely high risk of infertility. The expanding indications for HCT to include benign hematologic disorders as well as autoimmune diseases mandate that all hematologists are familiar with these risks. Oncofertility researchers are continually pushing the boundaries of what may be possible for our patients; in the meantime, communication and shared decision-making between hematologists and patients, as well as program-building, education, and outreach are essential to ensure that these patients, many of whom will be cured, maintain all of their options for a fulfilling life after intensive therapy.

  • Submitted December 29, 2018.
  • Revision received July 10, 2019.
  • Accepted May 30, 2019.