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The impact of the law in helping or hindering fertility preservation for children with cancer facing gonadotoxic therapies
journal contributionposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sonia Allan, Debra Gook, Yasmin Jayasinghe
Children diagnosed with cancer who require treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy have ever increasing survival rates. However, as a result of such treatment they face the added, and significant, burden of infertility into their futures. Options for fertility preservation and future reproduction for such children do exist, but some such options continue to be considered experimental. Collaborative multi-disciplinary teams support children and their families to make decisions about such options in the treatment environment. When collection of gonadal tissue from children is consented to in such circumstances, it is subject to stringent institutional clinical and human research ethics review, often in both the pediatric oncology setting and the fertility setting in which it will be preserved, examined and, potentially, used. Laws and guidelines may support the collection and use of reproductive tissue from children for treatment and research, subject to the meeting consent requirements concerning the child and/or their parent(s). This paper examines such laws across Australia It also examines the legal complexities found in some jurisdictions that may hinder research and practice, consequently having a negative impact on the prospects for children with cancer, in relation to their fertility preservation and possibilities for future reproduction.