Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy is Director of Reproductive Urology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System. For more information on fertility preservation counseling at Sylvester, call 305-243-6090 or visit the UHealth health news blog:
Kevin Dwyer and his wife Nancy were just newlyweds when Kevin was diagnosed with testicular cancer, threatening their hopes of one day starting a family.
“So much was going on that it would have taken us a little while to realize we should think about fertility preservation,” says Kevin, a U.S. Coast Guard pilot currently stationed in South Florida.
But thanks to counseling and treatment provided by Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, Director of Reproductive Urology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Dwyers were able to better plan for the future.
“It was great that he had brought up fertility right off the bat,” says Kevin, who chose to freeze sperm on his initial visit with Dr. Ramasamy. “It was great to have that peace of mind going forward through treatment.”
According to Dr. Ramasamy, 10 to 20 percent of patients undergoing cancer therapy can become permanently infertile, but many patients are not given the option to plan ahead for the family they may want in the future.
A new study co-authored by Dr. Ramasamy and published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Network Open) found that less than half of eligible patients are given fertility preservation counseling upon receiving their cancer diagnosis.
“We believe that the discussion about fertility preservation and fertility preservation counseling needs to happen at the time of diagnosis,” he says.
As part of Sylvester’s Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program (AYA), all patients are offered fertility preservation counseling. If they are interested, services are often provided the same day to obtain the specimen, to freeze the specimen, and to counsel the patient and/or parents about the options for preservation.
For the Dwyers, the ability to plan early was invaluable as Kevin’s cancer journey continued. Nancy got pregnant naturally with their son Trey, now 2-years-old, before Kevin started treatment. With frozen sperm in the bank, they can plan on adding to their family in the future.
“Right now, we can not naturally have a child,” says Kevin. “Dr. Ramasamy has been very supportive and talking to us about ways that we can try to help reverse that and having a sperm on ice is putting us at ease.”
“When you’re going through this, you want the top of the line, the best doctors, and we have absolutely no regrets,” says Nancy.
FOCUSING ON YOU
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