A cancer diagnosis and the treatment process can be devastating and overwhelming. In addition, if you are of reproductive age or have not reached puberty, you may be concerned about how cancer treatment may affect your fertility. Cancer treatments can harm your fertility depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatment type, and age. Modern technology, however, makes it possible to preserve your fertility before starting cancer treatment.
Fertility preservation is recommended for cancer patients who are about to undergo fertility-decreasing cancer treatments but wish to have a family in the future.
For further consultation and to discuss your treatment options, your oncologist will refer you to a fertility specialist.
During fertility preservation, females undergo ovarian stimulation before their released eggs are aspirated through an egg pick-up procedure and frozen. Males are required to submit a sample of their sperm to the IVF laboratory for freezing. Males unable to produce a sample naturally may have a few surgical options.
Even before beginning treatment, cancer can result in poor sperm quality in men. Treatments for cancer, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery on the reproductive system, and hormone therapy, may aid in your recovery. However, they may also cause harm to your reproductive system and the glands that control fertility. Cancer treatment may result in fertility problems in men due to lowered sperm or semen production, damaged sperm, or the inability to produce semen. Depending on the nature of the change, your fertility may be affected temporarily or permanently.
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery on the reproductive organs, and hormone therapy are essential to your recovery. However, they may harm the reproductive organs and glands that control fertility. Various effects may result from the treatment, including primary ovarian insufficiency, disruption of the menstrual cycle, irregular or no menstrual cycles, scarring of reproductive tissues, and lowered levels of Anti-Mullerian Hormones (AMH). You may experience temporary or permanent changes to your fertility.
Children who undergo specific cancer treatments may experience diminished fertility; this could affect a girl's ovaries or a boy's testicles. The side effects of cancer treatment may last for a short period, or they may last for an extended period and result in infertility. In girls, eggs may be damaged, and hormone production may be affected. Additionally, puberty may be delayed, menstruation may be irregular, or menstrual periods may cease. Radiation therapy may damage sperm and influence the production of hormones in boys.
Having fertility preservation performed before or after cancer treatment can help many children start families in the future when they are ready. A doctor can provide you with options for preserving your child's fertility.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact our fertility specialists. The doctors are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their field of expertise, and they can address any concerns you may have regarding the effects of cancer on your fertility. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking: