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 cancer doctor (oncologist) may not be well-informed about fertility problems, or might seem to look at this issue as less important than 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, 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.
- Will this treatment have any short- or long-term effect on my reproductive system? If so, what kind of effect and how long is it likely to 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 sperm banking, adoption, or using donor sperm?
- Should I speak with 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?
Last Medical Review: November 6, 2013 Last Revised: November 6, 2013
- Fertility and Men With Cancer
- Talking to your cancer care team about fertility before your treatment
- How cancer treatments can affect fertility in men
- Preserving fertility in men with cancer
- Preserving fertility in boys and teens with cancer
- Frequently asked questions
- Other fertility-related issues to think about
- To learn more