(Just by happenstance, this conversation ended up taking place on National Infertility Awareness Week. What perfect timing! I’m so excited to share this episode with y’all about an amazing organization working to preserve fertility among cancer survivors.)
When I was in grad school for journalism at Northwestern University in 2009 (whoa — that’s been a while), I focused on Health & Science writing and learned about the Oncofertility Consortium while working on an article. I was immediately interested in the work going on within this amazing organization, and have been keeping up with the consortium in the years since.
“Oncofertility” might not be a word you’re familiar with. (I certainly wasn’t when I first heard it!) It’s the intersection of oncology and fertility, and the folks at the consortium are committed to helping people who receive cancer diagnoses go on to create families after their treatment is complete. They do this through:
- Advocacy work to help people (society at large as well as physicians) learn about fertility preservation options and encouraging them to make that part of the conversation when someone who’s a child or young adult is diagnosed with cancer
- Research to help develop new fertility preservation treatments and ways to then help survivors build their families
- Connection between important players in a cancer treatment team
I spoke with Kristin Smith, a Fertility Preservation Patient Navigator, for my latest episode of the curiouser & curiouser Podcast, and loved learning about the strides the organization has made since I first became aware of them nearly a decade ago.
The word that always comes to mind when I think of the consortium — and that kept rising to the top during my conversation with Kristin — is “hope.” Receiving a cancer diagnosis has to be one of the bleakest experiences possible, but amidst getting information about treatment plans and side effects, talking about ways to plan for a family AFTER cancer has to be a glimmer of optimism and light.
I hope you enjoy this conversation with Kristin, and I hope you’ll spread the word about the Oncofertility Consortium. Maybe just bring it up over coffee with your sister, or at your next dinner out with friends. You never know whose future you might change by just getting awareness out about this resource.
(To connect directly with Kristen, please call her at 312.503.3378. Also, if you’re a newly diagnosed cancer patient or a member of someone’s support system, you can visit this website for fertility preservation information.)
Remember, too, that you can also subscribe to my podcast via iTunes to listen there instead!: