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HRC Fertility Performs First Collaborative Fertility Preservation Surgery

Dr. Bradford Kolb works with oncologist to preserve fertility in a young woman with ovarian cancer.

Pasadena, CA, May 25, 2011 --( Dr. Bradford Kolb, a reproductive endocrinologist with HRC Fertility, performed the first collaborative fertility preservation cycle in 26-year-old Kristy Gunderson, a woman with active ovarian cancer.

Normally when a cancer patient undergoes fertility preservation, the egg retrieval would be done prior to the cancer treatment. In this case, Dr. Kolb worked with gynecologic oncologist Dr. Alan Schlaerth. Dr. Kolb safely stimulated egg production, and the two doctors co-performed surgery to harvest the patient’s eggs and perform a complete hysterectomy. The eggs were then fertilized, and the resulting eight embryos are now cryopreserved.

As long as there is a short window to stimulate the eggs and harvest them without compromising a cancer patient’s prognosis, the egg retrieval is a routine IVF procedure that can be done in-office, with the patient returning to the oncologist for cancer treatment. However, that was not appropriate for Gunderson’s situation. “What makes this so uniquely different is that I could not do the egg retrieval in my office because I would have risked spreading the cancer in the pelvis,” Dr. Kolb says. “The way we retrieved the eggs without harming the patient or putting her at risk, was to do the egg retrieval at the time of her hysterectomy. So we were able to shield her ovary, harvest the eggs, and immediately proceed with the removal of the ovary and the uterus.” Gunderson had only one ovary; the other was removed two years earlier.

“I really applaud Dr. Schlearth’s efforts to preserve Kristy’s fertility,” Dr. Kolb says. “He went above and beyond what is standard to enable this young woman to ultimately have children who are genetically related to her.”

Gunderson explains that Dr. Shleareth told her she would have to have a full hysterectomy, which would result in the inability to have children. “Then he said, ‘I want to send you to a fertility specialist, and see if we can get some of your eggs,’” she says. “I was scared, but I felt like there was a reason I had this opportunity. I’ll have to use a surrogate, but they’ll be my biological children.”

About HRC Fertility
Since its inception in 1988, HRC Fertility has been one of the largest providers of advanced reproductive care in the United States. HRC has three full-service in vitro fertilization laboratories and seven locations throughout Southern California, with offices in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties. HRC Fertility’s ten physicians have extensive experience in reproductive medicine. For additional information about any of the services HRC Fertility offers, please visit them online at

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HRC Fertility
Bonnie Torres

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