- Fertility and Cancer: What Are My Options?
- What is infertility?
- Talking to your cancer care team about fertility before your treatment
- How does cancer treatment affect fertility in women?
- Preserving fertility in women before cancer treatment
- Fertility options for women after treatment
- How does cancer treatment affect fertility in men
- Preserving fertility in men before cancer treatment
- Fertility options for men after cancer treatment
- Preserving fertility in children with cancer
- Frequently asked questions
- Other issues
- To learn more
Talking to your cancer care team about fertility before your treatment
Before you start cancer treatment, talk to your doctor or nurse about any concerns you have about your fertility. An open discussion with him or her will help you plan your cancer treatment and know what to expect. Sometimes your oncologist may not be well-informed about fertility problems, or may look at this issue as less important compared to saving your life with cancer treatment. But you have a right to get your questions answered, even if it means getting a second opinion or seeing a specialist. You can talk to an oncologist, surgeon, gynecologist (OB/GYN), nurse, reproductive endocrinologist, or fertility specialist.
This is not a complete list of questions, but it should give you a good starting point as you begin talking with your doctor or nurse about having children. These questions are for both men and women to ask:
- Will this treatment have any short- or long-term effect on my reproductive system? If so, what kind of effect and how long will it last?
- Can anything be done to prevent infertility before I start cancer treatment?
- Will any of the options to preserve my fertility interfere with my cancer treatment?
- If I become infertile, what are my options for having a family, such as adoption, using a donor egg or sperm, or having a woman carry a pregnancy for me?
- Can you refer me to a fertility specialist before treatment?
- Once I finish treatment, how will I know if I am fertile or infertile?
- How long should I wait to try to start a pregnancy after cancer treatment?
- Is my infertility likely to be short-term or permanent?
Women might also want to ask:
- Can cancer treatment damage my ovaries so that I lose some or all of my eggs, or go into early menopause?
- Is my cancer treatment likely to damage my uterus, heart, or lungs in such a way that I could have trouble with a full-term pregnancy?
Last Medical Review: 09/18/2012
Last Revised: 11/19/2012