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Can You Get Pregnant After Cancer Treatment?

Can You Get Pregnant After Cancer Treatment?

For years, it was believed that it is difficult to have a pregnancy after cancer treatment as conceiving causes recurrences. However, today health care providers suggest that even if pregnancy after cancer treatment is possible, it is always best to wait for a few months or years before having a baby.

The waiting period depends completely on the woman’s age, type of cancer, and type of treatment. Since there are chances of recurrences in the earlier years and pregnancy after cancer treatment can be complicated.

Treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy can affect even healthy cells while fighting against the harmful ones. The treatments can also reduce your fertility.

For pregnancy after cancer treatment, how long should you wait?

Pregnancy after cancer treatment is possible but you should always consult with your doctor as the health of mother and baby is important. Health experts suggest waiting for two to five years as there are fewer chances of recurrences after this period.

Does cancer treatment affect men, too?

There are no strict rules asking men to wait to have a child after cancer treatments, but health care providers suggest waiting for two to five years.

Cancer treatments can damage sperm cells. It takes around 24 months for the damaged sperm cellss to be replaced by new ones. As of now, there is no evidence that shows a child born after the father’s cancer treatment possesses a risk of developing serious health problems.

How can cancer treatments affect fertility?

Some cancer treatments might have little to no effect on reproductive health, while others can affect fertility. The risk completely depends on the type of cancer and the treatment.

While undergoing chemotherapy, many women can stop having their periods, while some may face premature menopause.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs possess a high risk of infertility. Some drugs might also cause early menopause.

Harmful chemotherapy drugs include:

  • Ifosfamide
  • Busulfan
  • Lomustine
  • Procarbazine
  • Melphalan

Less harmful drugs include:

  • Methotrexate
  • Vincristine

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy to the pelvic area, abdomen, or spine may have an impact on the ovary function.

It is harmful to the female’s ovaries and can reduce sperm count in males. The damage can be temporary (only during treatment) or permanent. It can also increase the chances of early birth, miscarriage, and other health issues. The damage can be avoided by setting up a protective shield over the pelvis area.

Factors that have an impact on fertility are:

  • Age
  • Type of treatment
  • The type of drugs
  • Type of cancer

Risk of pregnancy after cancer treatment

Parents who have had cancer worry about the cancer being passed to their kids. There is no evidence that says that kids of cancer survivors might contact the disease.

There are very few chances of the disease being spread from a parent to the kids. If you have any queries in mind, you must always speak with your doctor.

Ask your doctor

You might ask the doctor the following questions:

  • Will the treatment affect my fertility?
  • Is there any way to know whether my fertility is affected or not?
  • Is there any way to preserve my fertility?
  • Will the treatment affect my pregnancy or delivery?
  • How long do I need to wait to conceive?

Sperm and egg preservation

In some cases, cancer survivors can go with cryopreservation, a process that allows freezing sperm, eggs, and ovarian tissue. These sperms or eggs are later used to conceive. This is not suggested in all the cases as there are chances of the sperms or eggs putting you at risk of recurrent cancer.

If you are someone who has just recovered from cancer it is important for you to take proper care of your health. If you are bothered about your future and think there are chances of infertility, you can go with other options that include adoption or surrogacy.

Learn about cancer treatment and recovery, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Having a Baby After Cancer: Pregnancy/https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/life-after-cancer/having-baby-after-cancer-pregnancy/Accessed on 21/11/2019

Pregnancy After Cancer/https://www.nccn.org/patients/resources/life_after_cancer/pregnancy.asp/Accessed on 21/11/2019

Can I Have Children After Cancer Treatments?/https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/fertility.html/Accessed on 21/11/2019

While Pregnancy May Be Possible After Chemo, How Many Patients’ Plans Change/https://www.cancernetwork.com/esmo/while-pregnancy-may-be-possible-after-chemo-how-many-patients-plans-change/Accessed on 21/11/2019

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Jun 30
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel