Receiving the news that you’ve got cancer is devastating. And you may be worried about whether your fertility could be affected if you’ve been planning to start a family.
If you have been advised to undergo chemotherapy or another form of cancer treatment, our specialist team are here to help. It is known that there can be some negative effects on fertility, however, this does not mean that your hopes of pregnancy are over. We offer a dedicated service to help those affected, on the road to parenthood.
While men can regain their sperm production after chemotherapy, unfortunately, sometimes women becoming infertile after cancer treatment can happen. However, there are IVF (in vitro fertilization) options available which can help you, if you worry you may have become infertile due to cancer treatment.
As cancer survival rates are growing, it is important that you are aware of your options to preserve fertility and use IVF to conceive once treatment has finished. Read on to discover more about breast cancer and infertility, as well as the chances of successful IVF after chemotherapy:
What options are there?
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For men, the procedure for preserving fertility is quite simple as it does not differ from the usual sperm freezing process. A sample is given to a sperm bank and preserved, then stored for later use. This option is available to any male who has reached puberty and is the most common method of fertility preservation for men.
It is also important to know that when undergoing cancer treatment, and for about a week after, it is recommended that you use contraception during intercourse and do not attempt to become pregnant. This is because there’s a possibility that the drugs used for cancer treatment, may harm the baby.
For females, the options for preserving fertility are more complicated. They include going through the egg collection process, whereby eggs are frozen for use them at a later date.
Another option is to fertilise the collected eggs with a sperm and create an embryo, which would then also be frozen and preserved for use after treatment.
Some treatments for breast cancer can cause temporary infertility or make it a little complicated for you to get pregnant after treatment ends. Both of the methods we mentioned above, can be used to aid this situation.
Why may fertility preservation be needed?
If you are having or need cancer treatment but want to start a family, fertility preservation is a good idea for many reasons.
Examples of these can be the link between a cancer patient’s chemotherapy and menstrual cycle. Cancer treatment has been known to cause both irregular menstrual cycles or to cause amenorrhea (one or more missed periods.)
Unfortunately, ovaries may be damaged during cancer treatment, which could cause early onset menopause or its various symptoms. These effects can occur at any point during the cancer treatment and can even be delayed.
However, this, among other reasons, is why IVF and cancer treatment should be discussed together, as it will ensure that people get the earliest possible opportunity to preserve their fertility for later use.
What are the chances of success?
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While the chances of success will vary for each individual case, there are a few factors which may directly affect the chances of a pregnancy occurring, but our specialist team is on hand to help you every step of the way, regardless of your circumstances.
A younger woman will be more likely to successfully preserve their fertility as the ability to conceive lessens with age. However, we have a team dedicated to help ladies of any age who are considering IVF treatment.
For more information on how preserving fertility can benefit cancer patients or if you need any advice about IVF after breast cancer, you can contact our team who will be able to advise you on the best step forward.