Women who get cancer are often faced with the probability that they may not be able to have children after they have received the full measure of their cancer treatment. While that is true to some extent, there are lots of other factors at play. In fact, you may or may not be able to get pregnant after having cancer. (It depends on all of the following.) Knowing your chances and the risks you might have to take with fertility treatments post-cancer treatment will help you decide what to do next.
First and foremost, your doctor will look at your age. It is very rare to have cancer when you are younger than 30, but it does happen. If you do have cancer in your twenties or early thirties, you still have a very high chance of being able to conceive some months after your last chemotherapy and radiation sessions.
Of course, it also depends on your family history of menopause. If the women in your family go through menopause very early in life (e.g., late thirties, early forties), then you may not be able to conceive. The closer you are to the expected age of menopause, the more likely you will go through menopause right after cancer treatment.
The Location of and Stage of Your Cancer
If you had ovarian or uterine cancer, you have even less chance of conceiving after treatment as most doctors are likely to remove these organs as part of your treatment. If you have cancer somewhere else in the body, then you have to look at the stage of the cancer. If it was first or second stage cancer that did not require chemotherapy, you have a much better chance at getting pregnant than if your cancer was discovered in the third or fourth and final stage.
The reason for this is that third and fourth or end stage cancers have to be treated much more aggressively if you hope to survive. That means that your body will be pumped full of chemo. Radiation treatments will blast the cancer site(s) frequently, making your body too toxic and too hostile for eggs to survive.
Fertility Treatment Options
There are "before cancer treatment" and "after cancer treatment" options here. You will have to be cancer-free with normal blood cell counts before the "after cancer treatment" options can be deployed. The "before cancer treatment options" depend on the location and severity of your cancer, and whether or not you can survive the measures taken to make you fertile.
The "Before Cancer Treatment" Fertility Options
In this instance, you will go through numerous shots, egg harvests, and hormone stabilization injections. It is an excruciating process, even for women who do not have cancer. The eggs may be frozen until such a time as you are past your cancer treatment (i.e., six months at least) and can re-implant the eggs in a healthy uterus. Your doctor will have to determine if surges in hormones via the shots will make your cancer worse, or will have no effect at all. You can also harvest eggs, fertilize them, then freeze the embryos to ensure that there will be babies, since the uterus may be even more hostile to sperm after cancer treatments are complete.
The "After Cancer Treatment" Options
Other options include implanting your eggs or your embryos into a surrogate. This ensures that you will most definitely have a chance at a child. Otherwise, you could take eggs from a female relative too. Twin siblings have duplicate DNA, so it would be impossible to tell if the child belonged to you or your twin. Donor eggs from strangers is another fertility solution, but that is entirely up to you.Share
4 October 2017
When I first got married, I didn't think twice before swiping my credit card. Unfortunately, this attitude caused my spouse and I to get into serious financial trouble early on, especially after a medical situation. Soon, we found ourselves struggling to pay the bills, even though we both worked full-time. After a financial intervention from a few of our family members, we learned ways to save money on everything from groceries to medical equipment. Because the cost of healthcare can be staggering, we decided to create a website dedicated to helping you save money on your medical expenses. I hope that as you peruse the articles on our website, you can find a few tips to save some cash.