PITTSBURGH, PA—Cancer treatment has the potential to affect a patient’s fertility, which may result in substantial emotional distress, particularly for younger patients who have not yet completed building families. Fertility preservation may address this critical issue by protecting the future reproductive ability of individuals undergoing cancer treatment. The process underscores a pivotal aspect of patient care, representing healthcare professionals’ commitment to mitigate not only the immediate challenges posed by cancer but also its long-term effects on the patients in their care.

In March 2024, in collaboration with the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses and the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology, ONS released a new joint position statement, Fertility Preservation in Individuals With Cancer, to highlight its importance for both patients and their families.

“Oncology nurses not only ensure that patients and their families are aware of the risks around infertility but also advocate for accessibility to fertility preservation at the right time in the treatment trajectory,” ONS President Danya Garner, PhD, RN, NPD-BC, OCN®, CCRN, said. “Having three professional organizations across North America collaborate to promote the need for awareness and action around fertility preservation demonstrates our commitment to the issue.”  

Oncology nurses and advanced practice providers play an essential role in fertility preservation for individuals diagnosed with cancer. The position statement’s collaborative approach involves:

  • Identifying and evaluating a patient’s risk
  • Educating the patient about their infertility risk
  • Ensuring they understand their individual risks as part of the informed consent process
  • Facilitating access to fertility preservation services, either by referring the patients to specialists or by offering the services directly

ONS is a professional association that represents 100,000 nurses and is the professional home to more than 35,000 members. ONS is committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at www.ons.org.