- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Coping with side effects
- Fertility problems
Some cancer treatments can cause temporary or permanent infertility (inability to have a child). Although chemotherapy and radiation therapy can reduce fertility, after treatment some women may be able to become pregnant and some men may be able to father a child. Other people take steps to preserve their fertility before treatment starts by storing eggs, sperm or embryos.
If you are thinking about trying to get pregnant after treatment, talk to your doctor about the impact that your treatment might have on your health during pregnancy. Your doctor may suggest you wait a certain period of time before trying to conceive, to give your body time to recover and to allow eggs or sperm to become healthy again. Some form of contraception must be used during this time.
If you are told your infertility is permanent, you may feel a great sense of loss and grief, even if your family is complete. You may feel angry, sad or anxious that the cancer and its treatment caused these changes to your body or your plans for the future. Talking to a psychologist or counsellor about how you are feeling might help. For more on this, call Cancer Council 13 11 20, or see Fertility and cancer.
|If you have trouble conceiving after cancer treatment or would like to learn about ways to improve your chances of getting pregnant, ask your doctor for a referral to a fertility specialist.|
Dr Haryana Dhillon, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Medical Psychology & Evidence-based Decision-making, School of Psychology, University of Sydney, NSW; Polly Baldwin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Jessica Barbon, Dietitian, Southern Adelaide Health Network, SA; Dr Anna Burger, Liaison Psychiatrist and Senior Staff Specialist, Psycho-oncology Clinic, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, ACT; Elizabeth Dillon, Social Worker, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Prof Paul Glare, Chair in Pain Medicineand Director, Pain Management Research Institute, University of Sydney, NSW; Nico le Kinnane, Nurse Coordinator, Gynaecology Services, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Amanda Piper, Manager, Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Kyle Smith, Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, WA; Aaron Tan, Consumer; Dr Kate Webber, Medical Oncologist and Research Director, National Centre for Cancer Survivorship, NSW. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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Fertility and cancer
It is common for people affected by cancer to wonder about their ability to have children now or in the future
Staying healthy after treatment
Lifestyle changes that can help keep you in good health
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