Fertility Assistance Options for Cancer Patients
Fertility after cancer and having a baby after cancer can be a challenge. Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery often harm the reproductive organs which can affect your fertility. However, there are a few options for women and men to create a family even after cancer.
Cancer treatment and fertility
Your physician may suggest different kinds of treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. It is important for you to know that depending on the type of cancer and treatment, your fertility could be limited.
- Surgery: Surgery may affect your fertility when reproductive organs are involved. Women diagnosed with gynecological cancers may need partial or complete removal of their ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, or vaginal tissue. Men diagnosed with testicular or prostate cancer may need partial or complete removal of their testicles or prostate.
- Radiation: Radiation may affect your fertility when treatment is directed at your pelvic region. For women, radiation can harm their ovarian reserve and increase the chances of miscarriage or pre-term births. For men, it can harm testosterone levels and sperm production rates.
- Chemotherapy: Depending on its intensity, chemotherapy may affect your fertility. For women, it can alter their ovarian reserve and hormone production. For men, it can alter sperm quality and the ability to produce new sperm cells.