Fertility and cancer treatment
Is my treatment likely to affect my fertility?
Your chances of infertility depend on:
- Your fertility before treatment – for example if you have a low sperm count before treatment / How near a woman is to the menopause
- Your age – fertility is more likely to return in younger people, but it depends on the type of treatment and the dose
- The type of cancer you have
- The type of treatment used – e.g. radiotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, surgery
- If you have any other health problems
How can treatment affect fertility?
Some cancer treatments can damage the eggs in your ovaries or affect the hormones that make your body release eggs and get ready for pregnancy. Read more about fertility issues for women.
Some treatments can damage sperm, reduce your sperm count or affect your ability to ejaculate. Read more about fertility issues for men.
Talk to your doctor before treatment starts
Talk to your cancer specialist before treatment starts about how it could affect your fertility and your options. Even if you have no immediate plans to start a family, you might still want to consider your options for the future.
Bring your partner, so they can ask questions too and discuss it together.
Many couples have had healthy babies after one or the other has been treated for cancer.
It’s important to think about contraception, even if your treatment is likely to affect your fertility. When having cancer treatment, you should avoid having unprotected sex. You should not become pregnant or father a child when having cancer treatment as treatment can harm a developing baby. Speak with your consultant or nurse specialist about the need to use contraception and for how long.
Fertility after cancer treatment
Cancer treatments can affect the organs and hormones that help you to reproduce (have children).
Infertility can be temporary or it can be permanent. The effect that treatment has on fertility can vary. There are many factors that effect it such as age, type of cancer, where in the body the cancer is, the type of treatment you have and how long you have the treatment for. Read more about fertility after cancer treatment.
For more information
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