Can fertility preservation interfere with successful cancer therapy or increase the risk of recurring cancer?
Research on whether taking fertility preservation steps can affect the success of cancer therapy or the risk of recurring cancer is limited. There's no evidence that current fertility preservation methods can directly compromise the success of cancer treatments. However, you could potentially compromise the success of your treatment if you delay surgery or chemotherapy to pursue fertility preservation.
While there appears to be no increased risk of cancer recurrence associated with most fertility preservation methods, further research is needed to determine whether ovarian stimulation can harm women who have hormone-sensitive tumors, as in some types of breast cancer.
Can cancer treatment or fertility preservation methods increase the risk of health problems in children conceived afterward?
As long as you don't expose your baby to cancer treatments in utero, cancer treatments don't appear to increase the risk of congenital disorders or other health problems for future children.
However, if you receive a cancer treatment that affects the functioning of your heart or lungs or if you receive radiation in your pelvic area, talk to a specialist before becoming pregnant to prepare for possible pregnancy complications.
What can parents do to preserve the fertility of a child who has cancer?
Taking steps to preserve the fertility of a child who has cancer can be difficult because he or she might not understand the consequences of impaired fertility. If your child has begun puberty, options might include oocyte or sperm cryopreservation. Your consent and your child's might be required. However, efforts to preserve the fertility of a child who hasn't begun puberty are considered experimental.
How do I determine the best fertility preservation option for me?
If you want to preserve your fertility before cancer treatment, talk to your doctor, oncologist or a reproductive specialist about your options. Your medical team will consider the type of cancer you have, your treatment plan and the amount of time you have before treatment begins to help determine the best approach for you.
The diagnosis of cancer and the treatment process can be overwhelming. However, if you're concerned about how cancer treatment might affect your fertility, you have options. Don't wait. Getting information about fertility preservation methods before you begin cancer treatment can help you make an informed choice.
Feb. 08, 2014
See more In-depth
- Patient's fact sheet: Cancer and fertility preservation. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. http://www.asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/cancer.pdf. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Sonmezer M, et al. Fertility preservation in patients undergoing gonadotoxic treatment of gonadal resection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Loren AW, et al. Fertility preservation for patients with cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology clinical practice guideline update. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2013;31:2500.
- Plante M. Fertility sparing surgery for invasive cervical cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Cardonick EH. Overview of fertility and pregnancy in cancer survivors. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Kim SS. Fertility preservation in female cancer patients: Current developments and future directions. Fertility and Sterility. 2006;85:1.
- Rob L, et al. Advances in fertility-sparing surgery for cervical cancer. Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy. 2010;10:1101.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ137. Treating infertility. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq137.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130819T1509047900. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Jensen JR, et al. Fertility preservation. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2011;86:45.
- The Practice Committees of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Mature oocyte cryopreservation: A guideline. Fertility and Sterility. 2013;99:37.
- Metzger ML, et al. Female reproductive health after childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancers: Guidelines for the assessment and management of female reproductive complications. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2013;31:1239.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 126: Management of gynecologic issues in women with breast cancer. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2012;119:666.
- Armuand GM, et al. Sex differences in fertility-related information received by young adult cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2012;30:2147.
- Sonmezer M, et al. Random-start controlled ovarian hyperstimulation for emergency fertility preservation in letrozole cycles. Fertility and Sterility. 2011;95:2125.e9.
- Treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-treating-during-pregnancy. Accessed Aug. 21, 2013.
- Jensen JR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 4, 2013.