Fertility-Sparing Procedures for Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer surgery often requires the removal of the ovaries and other reproductive organs. To help you preserve your fertility, if you wish to do so and your doctor determines it is safe, gynecologic oncologists at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center work closely with reproductive medicine specialists at our Fertility Center and NYU Langone Reproductive Specialists of New York. Our physicians offer fertility-sparing procedures to women with ovarian cancer whenever possible.

Fertility-Sparing Surgery

Fertility-sparing surgery may be an option in women who want to have children at a later date and who have early cancer in only one ovary. For this procedure, gynecologic oncologists remove the cancerous ovary and connected fallopian tube, which carries the egg to the uterus. They also remove a sample of the surface of the uterus in a procedure called dilation and curettage to ensure no cancer is present there.

To ensure that fertility-sparing surgery is a safe option, our gynecologic oncologists carefully confirm that the cancer has not spread beyond one ovary. They perform one or more biopsies, which are the removal of tissue from the pelvic and abdominal cavities for evaluation under a microscope for signs of cancer. They may remove area lymph nodes, and may sample or remove the omentum, a layer of fatty tissue that covers the abdomen, to examine these areas for cancer.

The uterus and the noncancerous ovary are left in place to preserve fertility. Doctors at Perlmutter Cancer Center use minimally invasive surgery to perform this procedure whenever possible.

Our surgeons can use a fertility-sparing surgical approach for women who wish to have children at a later date.

Other Fertility-Sparing Approaches

If you are not a candidate for fertility-sparing surgery, our doctors may be able to refer you for the retrieval and freezing of healthy eggs before removing the ovaries.

Egg freezing may also be an option if you are undergoing a type of chemotherapy that can damage eggs. These eggs can be fertilized to create embryos, which are then frozen and can be used for in vitro fertilization at some point in the future.

Your decision to freeze eggs may delay cancer treatment for about two weeks while fertility drugs stimulate egg production. Our gynecologic oncologists and fertility experts ensure that this delay is safe for you.

If your uterus needs to be removed, meaning you cannot become pregnant, NYU Langone doctors can discuss your options for having a biological child through a surrogate, another woman who carries the baby until birth.

Our gynecologic oncologists and reproductive medicine specialists meet with you to review your family planning options and help you determine which choice is right for you.