Causes - Cancer - Treatment

If you have cancer and having children is your dream, it is important to talk to your doctor to find out your fertility treatment options after cancer. Your doctor may be able to adjust your cancer treatment regimen to protect your fertility.

Fertility preservation for women
For women with cancer, the best fertility preservation treatment is to undergo egg or embryo cryopreservation (freezing and storage) before cancer treatment begins. If you are not able to freeze eggs or embryos before treatment, for any reason, ask your doctor about other fertility treatment options. Some of these alternatives may include clinical trials, drug protocols or experimental egg and ovarian tissue freezing.

Fertility preservation for men
Men are often able to easily freeze one or more sperm samples before undergoing cancer treatment. This freezing and storing of sperm is relatively quick and inexpensive.

Unfortunately, women do not have it so easy! While many men begin producing sperm within months after cancer treatment ends, women often need fertility treatments to try to conceive once treatment ends.

Other options for women
Some researchers are investigating whether birth control pills and other medications help to protect female fertility during cancer treatment. A GnRH-agonist, such as leuprolide acetate or triptorelin, may induce a temporary, reversible shutdown of the ovaries during cancer treatment.

If you hope to become a parent after your recovery from cancer, meet with a fertility specialist (reproductive endocrinologist) soon after diagnosis to learn about your fertility preservation options.

With the above fertility preservation treatment options, many women are able to get pregnant and have babies after cancer treatment. If you are interested in having children after cancer, talk to your doctor before you start cancer treatment. Some methods of fertility preservation for women can take weeks or months to complete, so it is best to start the process as soon as possible.