Fertility Doctor Plans To Open NY Center Allowing Natural Pregnancy For Women With Cancer

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald March 28, 04:00 am

A fertility doctor in New York laid out his plans to build a special center for undertaking a groundbreaking procedure. If approved, this center will help women with cancer get pregnant naturally.

Dr. George Kofinas submitted his proposal for approval with the New York Health Department. He wanted the city to have its reproductive surgery center for ovarian tissue harvesting and transplantation. Health Department officials, however, were still mulling its feasibility considering doctors and surgeons can perform the specific procedure in other accredited hospitals anyway.

The procedure involves taking a slice from woman's ovarian tissue before she undergoes chemotherapy. The tissue is then stored and frozen, which will be used when the woman successfully finishes chemo and goes into remission. The tissue will be transplanted back to the ovaries, according to New York Post.

One of the adverse effects of chemotherapy among women with cancer is ovarian damage or failure, according to the American Cancer Society. Experts also advise against women getting pregnant during chemotherapy as it can affect the growing fetus and could likely result in a birth defect, so some turn to donors or surrogacy.

Kofinas said because of these limitations, his proposal has a potentially high demand which justifies building a center. "We have an ever-growing number of cancer survivors that come to us now and their ovaries have been completely destroyed by chemotherapy and other kinds of treatment and we can't help them unless we use donor eggs," he said.

Kofinas also plans on building a laboratory in this center so that tissue preservation is immediate. He will be hiring additional staff and surgeons once the Health Department signs on.

Aside from Kofinas, Dr. Sherman Silber offers this procedure in his St. Louis Infertility Center. He told NY Post his center's success rate is at "75 percent pregnancy with a live baby," but acknowledged that the idea has not caught on in other fertility sites elsewhere.

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