524 cancer patients carried out egg-freezing procedures last year in Belgium, according to a press release issued by Public Health minister Maggie De Block’s cabinet on Thursday.
Patients have been able to have their procedure completely reimbursed since 2017. This allows them to consider having a child after their cancer treatment.
Egg-freezing is mainly used for young patients who are facing heavy treatment that can affect their fertility. Genetic reproductive material is extracted, frozen and preserved to be used later.
Freezing sperm, testicular tissue or ovaries would cost patients more than 1,300 euros if it wasn’t reimbursed. The price can be as high as 3,500 euros for eggs.
Inami’s figures reveal 177 women and 347 men had their genetic material frozen last year. 73 of them were less than 16 years old.
Most of them are cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or a combination of these treatments.
Many of them suffered from haematological malignancies like leukaemia or lymphoma. Breast or testicular cancer are also common reasons for choosing egg-freezing.
The Public Health ministry paid 4 million euros for people to have this procedure in 2018.
The Brussels Times