Risks associated with fertility preservation for women with sickle cell anemia

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9 Scopus citations


Objective: To highlight the risk of complications among women with sickle cell anemia (SCA) receiving fertility preservation treatment (FPT) before hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). Design: Single-center case series. Setting: Academic fertility center. Patient(s): Women aged 15–32 years with SCA undergoing FPT before HSCT. Intervention(s): Retrospective, systematic review. Main Outcome Measure(s): FPT modality, SCA complications during FPT. Result(s): Over an 8-year period (2009–2017), seven women with SCA ages 15–32 years (mean 28.5 years) underwent FPT with embryo cryopreservation (n = 1), oocyte cryopreservation (n = 4), and ovarian tissue cryopreservation (n = 2). The five women subjects who underwent oocyte or embryo cryopreservation were treated with an antagonist controlled ovarian hyperstimulation protocol and individualized gonadotropin dosing. The trigger medications included leuprolide acetate (n = 2), and human chorionic gonadotropin (n = 3). Most patients (n = 5) received a disease-modifying therapy for SCA (hydroxyurea or chronic transfusions) before FPT. Three patients experienced periprocedural SCA complications that included life-threatening respiratory failure, painful crisis requiring interruption of a stimulation cycle, and severe postharvest painful crisis. Conclusion(s): Women with SCA may choose to undergo diverse FPT strategies before HSCT and are at risk for serious SCA-related complications. Evidence-based strategies to mitigate SCA-related morbidity and to optimize fertility preservation outcomes are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-731
Number of pages12
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Bone marrow transplant
  • female infertility
  • fertility preservation treatment
  • sickle cell anemia
  • sickle cell disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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