Fertility preservation practices in pediatric and adolescent cancer patients undergoing HSCT in Europe: a population-based survey
Chemotherapy and irradiation can affect the gonads, leading to impairment of pubertal development and/or infertility. Fertility preservation (FP) is therefore a crucial endeavor in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) because of the severe impact of infertility on the quality of life of long-term survivors. Despite the existence of different international guidelines, FP counseling and procedures are not routinely implemented as part of patient care. We present herein a survey conducted by the Pediatric Working Party of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT), which aims to analyze and compare different FP practices for children and adolescents across EBMT centers in 2013. A total of 177 pediatric centers reporting to the EBMT were contacted; of this number, 38 centers (21%) located in 16 different countries responded. These centers reported 834 patients receiving HSCT in 2013 (73% prepubertal), corresponding to 22% of all children (n = 3789) undergoing HSCT in EBMT reporting centers. Overall, 39% of the reported patients received counseling and 29% received an FP procedure. The increased need for FP programs, extended education for patient-care teams, and more personal resources and funding emerged from this survey as pivotal factors necessary to support and implement such programs.