Below are some questions to ask your health care professionals about the impact of cancer and its treatment on fertility.
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Cancer treatment and fertility
Asking your doctor questions will help you make an informed choice. You may want to include some of the questions below in your own list.
- Will cancer or its treatment affect my fertility? Will this be temporary or permanent?
- Will any delay while I preserve my fertility affect the success of the cancer treatment?
- How long do I have to make a decision?
- Can you refer me to a fertility specialist?
- What fertility options do I have before treatment starts?
- What are the pros and cons of each fertility option?
- What are the chances of success of each fertility option?
- What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment?
- Which fertility option should I avoid and why?
- What options do I have after treatment?
- How long after treatment should I wait before trying to conceive?
- Are there any out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Medicare or my private health cover? Can the cost be reduced if I can’t afford it?
- Do I need to pay up-front before treatment begins?
Questions for reflection
Thinking about your answers to these questions may help your decision-making. There are no right or wrong answers.
- Has cancer changed my life goals, including having a child?
- If I decide not to have a child, what has led me to this decision? Are there benefits to not having a child?
- If I have a child, is it important that it is biologically related to me?
- What does my partner think?
- Which fertility option appeals to me and why?
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.
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