Making decisions about potential options for preserving fertility at the time of a cancer diagnosis can be difficult. It is important to keep the following in mind:
- When discussing cancer treatment with your doctor, it is important to determine if you are at risk for treatment-related fertility problems and whether you are concerned about preserving your fertility. Not all cancer treatments cause infertility.
- This discussion should take place as early as possible, as many of the available fertility preservation options require time to perform before cancer therapy begins. For example, some treatments for women depend on the phase of a woman's menstrual cycle and can only be started at monthly intervals.
- Although data so far are limited, most fertility preservation methods do not appear to increase the risk of recurrence (return of the cancer), even in cancers that are sensitive to hormones.
- Having a history of cancer, cancer treatment, or fertility preservation treatment does not appear to increase the risk of cancer or birth defects for future children. However, patients with a hereditary genetic syndrome and women whose children were exposed to chemotherapy while in the uterus (womb) may be at higher risk for developing cancer or birth defects. Talk with your doctor for more information.
- Talk with your doctor about referrals for counseling or other means of support if treatment-related infertility is a source of anxiety.