Pregnancy After Remission: Is IVF The Best Choice For Cancer Survivors?

Fertility After The Big C

Cancer is a disease that ravages a person in a multitude of ways. Not only does an individual have to fight mutant cells, but multiple systems in the body can be impacted. More importantly, treatment can be intense, causing various side effects. In particular, both men and women can be susceptible to infertility as a side effect of cancer treatments. While reduced fertility may be less of a concern for an older person, the implication can be devastating for people who receive a cancer diagnosis at a younger age. Thankfully, infertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be a family planning lifeline for cancer survivors.


Cancer and sterility

An unfortunate side effect of undergoing cancer treatment is the risk of sterility for both men and women. Solutions like chemotherapy and radiation can damage reproductive health. For women, some chemotherapy drugs can block menstruation or encourage early menopause. Additionally, some cancer medications can prematurely reduce ovarian reserve. Radiation not only impacts menstruation but lowers sperm quantity and motility in males. Finally, cancer that requires surgical removal can sometimes impact reproductive organs, leading to permanent sterility in some cases.

Can sterility be reversed?

Infertility can sometimes be a temporary side effect for males who undergo cancer treatment. However, if reproductive organs are removed, such scenarios make a reversal impossible. For women, the answer often depends on the specific treatment plan used. For all cancer patients, preemptive measures to preserve fertility are critical. The type of fertility solution used to protect reproductive options depends on a person’s age and underlying health.

Sperm and egg preservation

People facing cancer treatment don’t have to face infertility without a solution. For males, sperm collection and banking is a quick and easy way to ensure that a man can have children in the future. For women, egg freezing is always an option. However, because the process requires an entire cycle to complete, cancer treatment may need to be delayed. As a result, depending on how advanced a girl or woman’s cancer is when receiving the diagnosis, assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments like egg freezing may not always be a realistic option.

IVF after cancer

Especially for women who are more likely to have fertility permanently impacted by cancer, IVF can be a key option for starting or continuing a family. Ideally, a woman could use eggs previously harvested before beginning treatment. However, ovarian stimulation can also be used after treatment to encourage the body to grow multiple eggs in a single cycle for IVF use. Additionally, opting for an egg donor is another method that can be employed.

Pregnancy is possible

In vitro fertilization provides a pathway to having children that might otherwise not be possible. Preemptive IVF treatment is best, but the procedure can also be performed once a patient is in remission to help improve the chances of pregnancy. Cancer patients concerned about fertility outcomes after remission should speak with an oncologist and fertility specialist.

recent posts

Prescription Refills

For added convenience download our app for Android or iPhone. RxLocal is an easy-to-use app that allows pharmacy customers to manage their entire family’s prescriptions, communicate with the pharmacy via secure messages, order refills, set medication reminders and find pharmacy location information.

Your Community Specialty Pharmacy. Dedicated To Your Health, Well-Being & Family.