Not having a child
If fertility treatment is not successful, you may come to accept that you won’t have a child. You might feel like you ran out of time, money or energy to keep trying to have a child.
Not being able to have a child after cancer treatment may cause a range of emotions, including:
- sadness or emptiness
- a sense of grief or loss
- anger that cancer and its treatment caused changes to your body
- relief, contentment or happiness
- empowerment, if you chose not to pursue the goal of having children.
You may feel a sense of loss for the life you thought you would have. It can take time to accept that you won’t have a child and learn to enjoy the benefits of being child-free – more time to follow other aspects of your life, focus on your relationships, advance your career or afford a different lifestyle. Many people have happy and fulfilling lives without children, or gain satisfaction from other types of nurturing.
Your feelings may change over time. They may also depend on if you have a partner and how they feel. If you want support, a counsellor, social worker or psychologist can talk to you about being child-free and help you deal with challenging situations (for example, if your partner feels differently to you).
Learn some tips to deal with unhelpful comments from other people and other ways to find support.
I learnt that you can Iive a fulfilled life without children.Duncan
Dr Ying Li, Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist, RPA Fertility Unit, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW; Dr Antoinette Anazodo, Paediatric and Adolescent Oncologist, Sydney Children’s Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW, and Lead Clinician for Youth Cancer NSW/ACT; Paul Baden, Consumer; Dawn Bedwell, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Maurice Edwards, Special Counsel, Watts McCray Lawyers, NSW; Helena Green, Clinical Sexologist and Counsellor, InSync for Life, WA; Dr Michelle Peate, Program Leader, Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Women’s Hospital, The University of Melbourne, VIC; A/Prof Kate Stern, Gynaecologist and Reproductive Endocrinologist and Head, Fertility Preservation Service, Royal Women’s Hospital Melbourne, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Prof Jane Ussher, Chair, Women’s Health Psychology, Translational Health Resea ch Institute (THRI), School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, NSW; Renee Van Den Bosch, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.