Episode 64: Fertility Planning for Cancer Patients with Emily Capilouto

Emily Capilouto, a medical anthropologist and cancer advocate, discusses the topics of medical anthropology, fertility preservation, and IVF. She also shares her work in oncology and raising awareness about prostate cancer. The conversation includes a rapid-fire Q&A session on fertility treatments and options. The main takeaways include the importance of early discussions about fertility for cancer patients, the role of reproductive endocrinologists in managing fertility treatment, and the various options available for creating a family outside of IVF. Emily shares her personal experience with IVF and the challenges she faced due to legal and financial barriers where you’ll probably find some relatable issues that extend beyond fertility treatments.

About our guest

Emily completed a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2012 and a Masters of the Arts in Medical Anthropology at the University of Kentucky in 2018. Her academic research focused on the detection and prevention of reproductive cancers and access to reproductive healthcare in domestic and international settings. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for the last fifteen years at the local, state, and federal level. When not focusing her efforts on health promotion, Emily is forever working to complete her classical Pilates teacher certification, loves curling up with a good mystery or thriller novel, and enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and husband.

Watch the video of our episode on YouTube

  • 15 minutes:

    “So many cancer patients choose to use fertility treatments because there is a chance that treatments and surgeries that they will undergo to fight cancer can impact fertility. That is true for both men and women.”

  • 36 minutes:

    “The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos have the same legal status as children, disrupting IVF care in the state. Most clinics, including mine, halted services due to potential legal risks. This ruling stemmed from a lawsuit referencing the Wrongful Death of a Child Act after a patient's embryos were accidentally destroyed. The plaintiffs did not intend for their lawsuit to affect other families seeking IVF, but the ruling had widespread consequences. For about three weeks, the legal status of embryos as children meant mishandling them could be considered homicide, and transferring embryos out of state was impossible.”

  • 50 minutes:

    “I had someone this week tell me that navigating cancer is like getting a PhD. You have to get the PhD to be able to navigate cancer. I had another person tell me that the trauma of getting through the healthcare system is worse than the trauma of getting the cancer diagnosis.”

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