Embryo banking among women diagnosed with cancer: a pilot population-based study in New York, Texas, and Illinois

  • Barbara LukeEmail author
  • Morton B. Brown
  • Logan G. Spector
  • Judy E. Stern
  • Yolanda R. Smith
  • Melanie Williams
  • Lori Koch
  • Maria J. Schymura
Fertility Preservation



The purpose of the present study is to estimate the proportion of women with cancer who return to use the embryos that they have banked and to compare this proportion to that of women without cancer who bank embryos.


This is a cohort study of three groups of women from New York, Texas, and Illinois who used embryo banking in their first assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment cycle: two groups with cancer (222 women without an infertility diagnosis and 48 women with an infertility diagnosis) and a control group without cancer (68 women with the infertility diagnosis of male factor only). Women were included only if their first ART cycle reported to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic Outcome Reporting System (SART CORS) occurred between 2004 and 2009. Cancer cases were identified from each State Cancer Registry from 5 years prior to initiation of ART treatment to 6 months post-initiation; mean follow-up after the first ART cycle was 2.0 years.


Women with cancer without an infertility diagnosis returned for a subsequent ART cycle at a lower rate (10.8 %) than those with an infertility diagnosis (31.3 %, p = 0.0010) or the control group (85.3 %, p < 0.0001). Among those who returned for a subsequent cycle, women with cancer waited a longer time to return (14.3 months without an infertility diagnosis and 8.3 months with an infertility diagnosis, p = 0.13) compared to the control group (2.8 months, p = 0.0007). The live birth rate among women who did not utilize embryo banking in their second cycle did not differ significantly across the three study groups, ranging from 25.0 and 42.9 % for women with cancer with and without an infertility diagnosis, respectively, to 36.2 % for women in the control group.


Women with cancer without an infertility diagnosis are either less likely to return for subsequent treatment or will wait a longer time to return than women with an infertility diagnosis or those that do not have cancer. A longer-term study is necessary to assess whether these women return to use their frozen embryos after cancer treatment or are able to spontaneously conceive and if those subsequent pregnancies are adversely affected by the cancer diagnosis or therapy.


Oncofertility Assisted reproduction Cohort study Cancer among women 



SART wishes to thank all of its members for providing clinical information to the SART CORS database for use by patients and researchers. Without the efforts of our members, this research would not have been possible.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health


Supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (grant R01 CA151973)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, College of Human MedicineMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyGeisel School of Medicine at DartmouthLebanonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  6. 6.Texas Cancer Registry, Cancer Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Texas Department of State Health ServicesAustinUSA
  7. 7.Illinois State Cancer Registry, Illinois Department of Public HealthSpringfieldUSA
  8. 8.New York State Cancer Registry, Bureau of Cancer Epidemiology, New York State Department of HealthAlbanyUSA

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