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Improvements in cancer survival rates for teenagers and young adults (TYAs) have resulted in quality-of-life issues into survivorship becoming increasingly important. However, infertility is a potential late side effect of cancer treatment, which can negatively impact on quality of life. Advances in assisted reproductive technologies have resulted in increasingly effective fertility preservation (FP) options. This study aimed to explore nurses' experiences of undertaking fertility-related discussions with TYAs with cancer aged 13-24 years. An interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach was used. Eleven purposively selected nurses working on a specialist TYA cancer unit participated in semistructured interviews. Data were analyzed using IPA. Parents/family were experienced as self-appointed informal gatekeepers who were perceived to hold the power to control nurses' access to communicate with young people about fertility issues. Nurses adopted a supportive role, which was enhanced by the positive nature of their relationship with the TYA. Uncertainty was expressed over whether the TYA had been fully informed of their infertility risk and potential FP options. Nurses should manage parental involvement sensitively if TYAs are to make informed decisions regarding their future reproductive health. There is a need for clear role delineation in fertility discussions to ensure that TYAs are provided with the opportunity to discuss infertility risk and be referred to a specialist before initiating cancer treatment. Nurses should cultivate the primacy of the nurse-TYA relationship to improve fertility care. Further research into the factors that TYAs may consider beneficial within the nurse-patient relationship is required.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of adolescent and young adult oncology
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Drugs used to increase fertility or to treat infertility.
A method of providing future reproductive opportunities before a medical treatment with known risk of loss of fertility. Typically reproductive organs or tissues (e.g., sperm, egg, embryos and ovarian or testicular tissues) are cryopreserved for future use before the medical treatment (e.g., chemotherapy, radiation) begins.
Mammals which nourish their young in utero by means of a complex placenta, and give birth to their young alive. They include PRIMATES; CARNIVORA, WHALES; RUMINANTS; BATS; and RODENTS.
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The unborn young of a viviparous mammal, in the postembryonic period, after the major structures have been outlined. In humans, the unborn young from the end of the eighth week after CONCEPTION until BIRTH, as distinguished from the earlier EMBRYO, MAMMALIAN.
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