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New initiative offers fertility hope for childhood cancer patients

A ground-breaking initiative by the Irish Cancer Society will give children being treated for cancer the best possible chance at starting a family of their own in later life. Over 200 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in Ireland, with the necessary treatment often damaging their fertility and impacting their chances of being able to have children in future. Ireland currently lags behind other European countries in having no state-funded fertility preservation service for children and adolescents with a cancer diagnosis.

The charity’s new Childhood Cancer Fertility Project delivered in association with Merrion Fertility Clinic will see hundreds of children, adolescents and young adults given a precious chance at future parenthood through the use of cutting-edge fertility preservation methods. The Childhood Cancer Fertility Project is designed to be the forerunner for a new national fertility preservation programme on its completion.

The three-year project represents a €420,000 investment as part of the Society’s commitment to childhood cancers in its new five-year strategy. Project Clinical Lead Prof Mary Wingfield said:
“Loss of fertility is one of the less visible side effects of cancer treatment and it can have a devastating effect on survivors – on their quality of life, their mental health and their relationships.

“This funding grant will make such a difference to so many children, adolescents and their families, and I am so grateful to the Irish Cancer Society for enabling this service,” Prof Wingfield concluded.

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