Ethics and oncofertility: A call for religious sensitivity

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For patients of reproductive age, treating cancer may come at the price of infertility. Literature regarding fertility preservation recommendations in this population has increased significantly, but this literature too often overlooks or insufficiently considers the relevance of religious preferences. Similarly, practice guidelines donot address the role of religion in the oncofertility discussion. The acceptance of oncofertility practices varies significantly among Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. A patient's faith-based spirituality or secular morality may enhance his or her interpretation of the meaning of illness and should be incorporated into the informed-consent process. In this article, we describe the role of religious sensitivity in oncofertility care and argue for its importance in such care. We briefly summarize the views and moral reasoning about oncofertility in a few religions commonly encountered in many patient populations today.Werecommend that clinicians discuss fertility options early in the decision process and, when relevant, incorporate the patient's moral and religious preferences into the treatment plan.Weencourage providers to be prepared to offer resources to patientswhodesire moral and spiritual guidance about fertility preservation options. Hospital chaplains should be able to provide such resources.

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