If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is important to discuss your fertility options with your doctor. Cancer treatment could leave you infertile but there are proactive steps you can take to protect your fertility, offering you a chance to become a parent in the future. In this section on fertility and cancer, we explore male and female fertility options following a cancer diagnosis.
Pregnancy after cancer
Many women diagnosed with cancer are able to get pregnant following cancer treatment and recovery. Even though some cancer treatments can leave women infertile, fertility preservation procedures offer you a chance to become a new mom following cancer treatment. Current fertility preservation options for women include:
- Embryo, egg, and ovarian tissue freezing
- Shielding of ovaries during pelvic radiation treatment
- Surgical repositioning of ovaries during radiation treatment
Fatherhood after cancer
Men must also take action to protect their fertility immediately following a diagnosis of cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy treatment may damage a man's ability to produce sperm, leaving a man infertile following cancer treatment. Thus, fertility preservation options for men, including freezing and storing of sperm in a sperm bank, is often beneficial. Fertility preservation will help to ensure that you are able to become a father, even after cancer treatment.
Fertility specialists can help
For the best chances of pregnancy success after cancer, men and women should make an appointment with a fertility specialist as soon as possible after cancer diagnosis, before cancer treatment begins. Ask your oncologist about your options and meet with a fertility specialist to learn more.