Embryo cryopreservation after ovarian stimulation with letrozole may preserve fertility and pregnancy rates in women being treated for breast cancer, according to a recent study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers led by Kutluk Oktay, MD, of the Innovation Institute for Fertility Preservation and In Vitro Fertilization in New York looked at 131 women with breast cancer who underwent ovarian stimulation with concurrent use of daily letrozole. The women then received adjuvant chemotherapy and underwent embryo cryopreservation.

“The aim of this study was to provide the pregnancy and fertility preservation outcomes when embryos generated with the same protocol are used,” the authors noted.

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Among the 131 women, 33 of them had undergone 40 attempts to transfer embryos to their own uteri or through the use of a gestational carrier.

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The researchers found that overall live birth rate per embryo transfer was similar to the U.S. national mean among infertile women of a similar age who had undergone in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer. They also found no fetal anomalies or malformations in 25 of the birthed children after a mean follow up for 40.4 months.

Seventeen of the 33 women who attempted pregnancy had at least one child – a fertility preservation rate of 51.5 percent per attempting woman. 


  1. Oktay, Kutluk, et al. “Fertility Preservation Success Subsequent to Concurrent Aromatase Inhibitor Treatment and Ovarian Stimulation in Women With Breast Cancer.” Journal of Clinical Oncology. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.59.3723. [epub ahead of print]. June 22, 2015.