Young female cancer patients' experiences with fertility counselling and fertility preservation: a qualitative small-scale study within the Danish health care setting

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Introduction: Fertility counselling for young women newly diagnosed with cancer is an important field of preconceptional counselling. This qualitative, small-scale study explored how young women newly diagnosed with cancer experienced specialized fertility preservation counselling and treatment in the public Danish health care system.

Methods: Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with five women below 40 years recently diagnosed with cancer. All women received fertility counselling by a fertility specialist at the Fertility Clinic, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Denmark before initiation of cancer treatment. Participants were interviewed at a place chosen by them, and interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using systematic text condensation developed by Malterud and inspired by Giorgi’s phenomenological analysis.

Results: None of the participants were aware that chemotherapy could destroy their eggs. The participants described how specialized fertility counselling and fertility preservation contributed to a belief in life after cancer, which gave them hope that they would survive their cancer disease. Further, the women described how the possibility of fertility preservation removed a huge concern and enabled them to concentrate on their cancer treatment and on getting better.

Conclusion: Overall, the specialized fertility counselling and treatment to preserve fertility was highly valued. The women felt it gave them a choice about their future fertility. The fertility expert presented the various fertility-preserving scenarios, and the women were content that they had an actual choice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUpsala Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)283–288
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 164368694