Exploring Attitudes to Conception in Partners and Young Women with Gynecologic Cancers Treated by Fertility Sparing Surgery

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Joan Kirner Hospital, St Albans, Victoria, Australia.

2 King Edward Memorial Hospital, Subiaco, Western Australia, Australia.

3 St John of God Hospital, Subiaco, Western Australia, Australia.

4 Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia.

5 Institute for Health Research, University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia.

6 School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia.

7 WOMEN Centre, West Leederville, Western Australia, Australia.

Abstract

Background: Approximately 20% of women with gynecologic cancers are under age 40 and with delayed childbearing, women may be diagnosed before their first pregnancy. Although fertility preservation is a priority for many women, attitudes to conception have not previously been investigated in these patients or their partners. We explored attitudes to conception in partners and young women, following fertility preserving treatment for gynecologic cancers. Methods: A total of 16 telephone interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of patients who had had an early stage gynecologic cancer or borderline ovarian tumor treated by fertility sparing surgery in Western Australia between January 1st, 2005 to December 31st, 2016. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and thematic analysis was conducted. Results: Four main themes were identified: (i) Emotions at diagnosis and perception of information given; (ii) Discussions of fertility and factors affecting childbearing; (iii) Role of partners in decision making and relationship pressures; (iv) Decision for treatment and postoperative regrets. Conclusions: Regret and relationship breakdown were commonly reported. Women need appropriate support including inviting their partners to attend clinic appointments and may need several appointments before treatment. Regret was commonly reported by women who opted for completion surgery.
 

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