The ART of Reproductive Medicine


Oncofertility is a new approach in medicine for working with cancer patients under 40 years old and encompasses comprehensive medical approaches to preserving fertility in these patients before their cancer treatment begins. The term Oncofertility comes from oncology which is the study of cancer cell formation, diagnosis, and treatment, and from fertility which is the ability to produce offspring. In the past, aggressive treatment of cancer through surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation treatment was the only objective for these patients. However, with improved and more targeted therapies available, the overall cure rate for childhood cancers is approaching 80% (Human Reproduction, Vol. 00, No. 0, pages 1-5, 2009). Since infertility can result from the cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy containing alkylating agents and radiation, cancer patients under 40 years old are now being counseled about ways eggs and sperm can be harvested and stored for the future prior to beginning the cancer treatments. Reference here

This ART of Reproductive Medicine Curriculum: Oncofertility was initially developed as part of a 5-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) Interdisciplinary Research Consortium grant which funded the Oncofertility National Science Education Network (ONSEN), initiated by Dr. Teresa Woodruff of Northwestern University. The grant supported outreach in science education to high school students at four partner sites including Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) West Campus (Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC)) in Portland, Oregon.  More recently, the curriculum has been expanded and refined as part of a 5-year NIH National Centers for Translational Research in Reproduction and Infertility (NCTRI) grant which funds research and educational outreach at 12 research universities, including Northwestern University and OHSU at ONPRC.

The ART of Reproductive Medicine: Oncofertility Curriculum is designed to enhance current biology courses rather than to replace them. The curriculum is most appropriate for advanced biology courses in high school and introductory biology and anatomy/physiology courses in junior colleges or 4-year institutions. However, some of the lessons could be used in middle school and high school general biology courses, such as those lessons focusing on cancer prevention and cell division. While all of the lessons are related to the topic of oncofertility and infertility, each one can be used as a stand-alone unit or out of sequence. Each chapter of the curriculum includes a Teacher Background Section, a PowerPoint slide show for the students, and instructions for supporting activities. The Teacher Background Section is meant to provide information for the teacher about the topic and is tied very closely to the PowerPoint slide show. For greater understanding, the teacher may want to play the slide show as he/she reads the background section. For the students, the slide show can be used in its entirety or can be edited as necessary for a given class. Alignment to the NGSS for each chapter is provided at the end of each chapter.

We invite you to send us your feedback about the curriculum as you use it; we will incorporate your ideas into future drafts. Please note that images are either public domain or are copyrighted with permission granted to us to reproduce them for educational purpose. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Cancer – Teacher Background

Cancer, Part 1 & Part 2 – PowerPoints

Cancer Lab BRCA – Teacher Background on BRCA Genes

Cancer Lab BRCA – PowerPoint on BRCA Genes

Cancer Lab BRCA - DNA Bioinformatics Study to Locate BRCA Cancer Genes – Student Handout

Cancer Lab BRCA - DNA Bioinformatics Study to Locate BRCA Cancer Genes – Teacher Notes

          BRCA1 - Normal Sequence

          BRCA1 – Test Patient A

          BRCA1 – Test Patient B

          BRCA1 – Test Patient C

          BRCA1 – Test Patient D

          BRCA1 – Test Patient E

Cancer Lab p53 – Teacher Background on p53 Tumor Suppressor Protein

Cancer Lab p53 – PowerPoint on p53 Tumor Suppressor Protein

Scientific Papers on Cancer

Additional Resources on Cancer

NGSS Alignment for Chapter 3  

Treatment of Cancer and the Effect on Reproduction – Teacher Background

Treatment of Cancer and Possible Side Effects, Part 1 & Part 2 - PowerPoints

Scientific Papers on Cancer Treatment

Additional Resources on Cancer Treatment

NGSS Alignment for Chapter 4

Female and Male Reproductive System – Teacher Background

Female and Male Reproductive System, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, & Part 4 - PowerPoints

Using ELISA to Measure Concentrations of Sex Hormones – Teacher Background

Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbant Assay (ELISA) – PowerPoint

ELISA Dry Lab - Graphs and Explanations of Female Infertility - Powerpoint

Female Reproduction – ONPRC Modules 1A & 1B - Student Handouts

Hematoxylin & Eosin (H & E) Ovary ONPRC Staining Lab – Student Handout

Hematoxylin & Eosin (H & E) Tissue ONPRC Staining Lab – Teacher Notes

Male Reproductive Tract – ONPRC Module 2 - Student Handout

Scientific Papers on Reproductive Systems

Additional Resources on Reproductive Systems

NGSS Alignment for Chapter 6

Pregnancy – What is Normal, What Can Go Wrong, and How Can We Assist Infertile Couples? –  Teacher Background

Pregnancy – What is Normal, What Can Go Wrong, and How Can We Assist Infertile Couples? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, & Part 4 – PowerPoints

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) ONPRC Modules 3A & 3B – Student Handouts              

Scientific Papers on Pregnancy and ART

Additional Resources on Pregnancy and ART

NGSS Alignment for Chapter 7

Cryobiology – Teacher Background

Cryobiology Lecture on Fertility Preservation, ONPRC, Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3 – PowerPoints

Cryobiology Lecture on Endangered Species Preservation, ONPRC – PowerPoint

Cryobiology Lab ONPRC Module 4A High School on Fertility Preservation – Student Handout

Cryobiology Lab ONPRC Module 4B High School on Endangered Species Preservation – Student Handout

 Cryobiology Lab ONPRC Module 4C Middle School on Endangered Species Preservation – Student Handout

Cryobiology Lab – Dry Lab PowerPoint

Cryobiology Lab Modules 4A, 4B, 4C on Fertility Preservation - Teacher Notes

Scientific Papers on Cryobiology

Additional Resources on Cryobiology

NEA 5E Learning Cycle Lesson Plan on Cryopreservation

NGSS Alignment for Chapter 8

Fertility Preservation Options – Teacher Background

Fertility Preservation Options, Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3 – PowerPoints

Alginate Lab ONPRC Module 5 – Student Handout

Alginate Lab ONPRC Module 5 – Teacher Notes

Scientific Papers on Fertility Preservation        

Additional Resources on Fertility Preservation

NEA 5E Learning Cycle Lesson Plan on Alginate Lab

NGSS Alignment for Chapter 9