How Cancer Can Affect Fertility?

Cancer can directly affect fertility by mandating the removal of the ovaries or testes due to ovarian or testicular cancer. Cancer can also indirectly affect fertility through the use of treatments, such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, that damage the ovaries or testes.

The risk of infertility resulting after a cancer diagnosis depends on several factors including the type of cancer, the cancer stage, the treatment required, the dose/duration/nature of the chemotherapeutic agents administered, the age at diagnosis, the ovarian reserve (number of eggs in the ovaries) at the time of diagnosis and your age at the time of diagnosis.

It is often difficult to predict the degree of ovarian damaged expected from the administration of a particular chemotherapeutic agent. Some chemotherapeutic agents are well-known to cause severe ovarian damage, however the dose and duration of the treatment course is also important.

It is optimal that you talk to a fertility specialist as soon as possible after your diagnosis of cancer, ideally prior to the commencement of cancer treatment. Urgent fertility consultation appointments can be arranged with 1-2 days of contacting this practice.

Pregnancy after successful cancer treatment is often safe and achievable. Current research does not indicate that children that are born to women after cancer treatment are more likely to have anatomical malformations or health problems. Research has demonstrated that pregnancy after successful cancer treatment does not increase the likelihood of cancer recurrence in the most of situations (the exception to this may be when pregnancy occurs immediately after breast cancer treatment; pregnancy occurring two years after successful treatment of breast cancer has been associated with no difference in cancer recurrence rate in some studies and a lower cancer recurrence rate in other studies).

If you have concerns regarding your future fertility, you should discuss these with a fertility specialist at the earliest possible opportunity.

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