Disparities in fertility preservation among patients diagnosed with female breast cancer

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Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics


PURPOSE: To investigate the association of specific patient factors with disparities in fertility preservation counseling and utilization of fertility preservation among patients ≤ 40 years old diagnosed with female breast cancer.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted investigating patients diagnosed with breast cancer between January 2012 and December 2020 in a multi-site health system. Rates of fertility counseling and utilization of preservation services were compared based on age, race/ethnicity, parity, insurance type, and treatment site.

RESULTS: Of the 6,783 patients diagnosed with female breast cancer, 306 (4.5%) were ≤ 40 years old at the time of diagnosis. There was no significant difference between Black or African American and White patients in rates of fertility counseling (12.1% vs 17.4%; p = 0.285) or pursuit of fertility preservation (3.3% vs 4.2%; p = 0.508), nor was a difference observed when compared by insurance type. However, younger patients (< 30 years of age), patients with 1 or no children, and patients treated in the more affluent county were more likely to undergo counseling and pursue fertility preservation than their matched counterparts.

CONCLUSION: Age, parity, and location of breast cancer care may impact rates of fertility counseling and preservation among reproductive age women diagnosed with breast cancer. Thus, further attention to age discrimination, a patient's desire for future fertility, need for standardization in fertility preservation counseling, and perhaps implementation of comprehensive fertility coverage mandates across all states could help to improve gaps in fertility counseling and fertility preservation.

Medical Subject Headings

Pregnancy; Humans; Female; Adult; Fertility Preservation; Breast Neoplasms; Retrospective Studies; Counseling; Fertility

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ePub ahead of print





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