New Online Tool Helps Transplant Patients Learn about Fertility Preservation
When patients learn they need a transplant, they quickly become overwhelmed with having to deal with a life-threatening disease.
That can mean that some important issues, such as preserving fertility after a transplant, don’t get addressed. Or they get addressed late in the process when fertility preservation options are more limited or no longer available.
For blood or marrow transplant (BMT) patients of childbearing age, there is now a new tool to help them learn how to preserve their fertility. Be The Match, in consultation with fertility experts, has developed a comprehensive web-based fertility “learning module” using interactive slides and narration to present fertility information that’s most relevant to patients considering a BMT.
Comprehensive and self-guiding activity
The 8-chapter module allows patients to go through only the chapters they’re interested in, and at their own pace. Chapters included:
- Fertility basics
- Fertility and transplant
- Fertility preservation for women
- Fertility preservation for men
- Family planning
- Money matters
- Legal and ethical considerations
- Talking with your doctor
“When possible, we recommend that a fertility discussion happen as early in the cancer process as possible,” says Dr. Brandon Hayes-Lattin, a hematologist at the Oregon Health & Science University. That’s because many fertility preservation options such as egg and sperm collection and storage take time, he notes.
Patients exploring the fertility module will learn the reasons why BMT often causes a loss of fertility, whether it’s safe to have a child after a BMT, new ways fertility specialists can determine a person’s fertility, and more.
Easy to navigate, interactive
“The interactive elements of this module make it a very effective way to learn about transplantation and fertility preservation options,” says Michele O’Brien, RN, MSN, and a Doctoral of Nursing candidate who was on a team that helped develop the fertility learning module.
Michele says that the development team designed the module to be extremely easy to navigate. “We made sure that it included self-directed learning, links to external content to support high-information seekers, and practical resources such as list of fertility preservation questions patients can ask their doctor.”
Module promotes self-advocacy
Michele and her colleagues believe the learning module will help overcome communication barriers among patients and health care providers regarding fertility preservation issues.
“Self-advocacy is extremely important when it comes to fertility preservation and transplant,” Michele says, noting that many transplant physicians may not refer patients to fertility resources due to limited availability of fertility specialists, an urgency to start treatment, and gaps in insurance coverage.
We encourage you to view the fertility module and share this information with your patients.