Reproductive counseling, contraception, and unplanned pregnancy in fertile women treated by gynecologic oncologists.

Crafton SM, Lynch CD, Cohn DE, Eisenhauer EL
Gynecol Oncol Rep 19 22-26 02/01/2017


We sought to identify how gynecologic oncologists approach reproductive counseling for their fertile, reproductive age patients, and their experience with unplanned pregnancies. Members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) were surveyed electronically regarding consistency of counseling patterns of contraception and fertility concerns, most and least common contraceptive methods utilized, referral patterns, and incidence of unplanned pregnancy. Of the 1424 SGO members identified, 261 participated in the questionnaire, yielding a response rate of 18%. Eighty-two percent of respondents agreed unplanned pregnancy is a potential problem, but only 57% believed their patients understood unplanned pregnancy is possible during treatment. Half of respondents report "always" in terms of frequency that contraception is addressed among their high-risk patients. After adjustment for gender, we found that the odds of reporting providing fertility counseling were nearly three times higher among attendings as compared to fellows [AOR = 2.72; 95% CI = (1.44, 5.12), three times higher in women as compared to men [AOR = 2.80; 95% CI = (1.46, 5.38)], as well as in individuals 50 + years as compared to those < 40 years old [AOR = 4.91; 95% CI = (2.05, 11.74)]. Ninety-six percent reported < 5 unplanned pregnancies, to their knowledge, in the previous five years of clinical practice. Most providers acknowledge that unplanned pregnancy is a potential risk in fertile gynecologic oncology patients, but only half believe their patients understand an unplanned pregnancy is possible. An opportunity exists to provide more directed counseling regarding fertility during and after cancer therapy, and to educate patients and providers regarding more reliable, long acting contraceptive methods.

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