Fertility Preservation Before Cancer Treatment
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, plans for starting a family may be put on the back burner. However, cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation can be toxic to the ovaries and testicles and affect your ability to have children in the future. It is important to speak with your oncologist about how cancer treatments may affect your fertility.
Cancer treatments can affect fertility
If part of your reproductive system (such as the testicles, prostate, ovaries, uterus, cervix, nerves or lymph nodes in the abdomen /pelvis, brain) is directly affected by cancer and must be altered by surgery, your fertility can be impaired or diminished.
Chemotherapy treatments and other medications can damage sperm and eggs and prevent you from having children in the future. Risk of infertility from chemotherapy and medication depends on:
- Type of drug
- Location of cancer
Learn more about which chemotherapy drugs have a higher risk of affecting your fertility by discussing this chart with your doctor.
Radiation therapy can damage the reproductive system. Radiation to the brain can damage areas that control hormone production, affecting fertility. Depending on the dose, radiation aimed near the pelvic region can cause temporary or permanent infertility by affecting the testicles or ovaries.
Ask a Cancer Support Specialist
Appointments and Locations
Talk to your oncologist or surgeon about how your fertility or ability to maintain a pregnancy may be affected by cancer treatments. If necessary, men and women can both be referred to The Henry Ford Center for Reproductive Medicine, where cancer fertility specialists can discuss fertility risks in depth, and guide you through the options available to preserve fertility.
- Cancer patients are guaranteed an appointment at the clinic or an inpatient consult within 48 hours of contact.
- A fertility specialist will meet with you to gain a clear understanding of your condition assess your fertility potential, and what the chances are of infertility after cancer treatment
If getting to either of those locations is an obstacle, Telemedicine clinic-to-clinic visits are available and usually covered by insurance. Call (248) 637-4050 to request an appointment.
Colleen's Corner: Local and National Resources
Learn more about fertility preservation and the options or resources available.