Fertility and leukemia treatments

family coast

Some couples go on to have healthy babies after one or other partner has been treated for leukemia. However, your fertility may be affected by some of the treatments, either temporarily, or permanently.

Chemotherapy

Men: Chemotherapy can cause infertility in men. It may be temporary or permanent. You may be on treatment 2–3 months before your sperm count is reduced.

Women: Your periods may stop during or for a few months after treatment. You may get hot flushes, a dry vagina or other symptoms of the menopause if the chemo affects your ovaries. 

Your periods may return to normal a few months after treatment. In general the younger you are, the more likely your regular periods will return and the more likely it is that you will still be able to have children. For some women, their period does not return after treatment and you may enter menopause.

TKIs

Taking TKIs while pregnant has been linked to babies being born with abnormalities. Because people with CML will most likely need to take TKIs permanently it will affect any plans you had to start a family or have more children.

Stem cell transplants

If you have a stem cell transplant you are likely to be permanently infertile after treatment.

Are there any options if I want to have children?

Discuss any worries you have about infertility with your doctor before treatment starts. He or she will tell you if there are any options open to you. 

Rotunda IVF at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin provides a service where eggs or sperm can be frozen for later use. With a fast-growing (acute) leukemia like AML or ALL, treatment normally needs to start quickly to get the disease under control, so there may not be time to freeze eggs or sperm, especially with eggs, as this process can take a few weeks.

For more information

Icon: Phone

Phone

1800 200 700

Icon: Email

Email