- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Fertility and cancer
- Female fertility and cancer treatments
Surgery that removes part or all of the reproductive organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix, can cause infertility.
Removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy)
If both ovaries are removed (bilateral oophorectomy), you will experience early menopause. You will no longer have periods or be able to become pregnant naturally.
If only one ovary is removed, the other should continue to release eggs and produce hormones. You will still have periods and may be able to become pregnant if you still have a uterus.
Removal of the uterus and cervix (hysterectomy)
This may be used to treat gynaecological cancers, such as cancer of the cervix, ovary, uterus and endometrium (lining of the uterus), and sometimes, cancer of the vagina. After a hysterectomy, you will be unable to carry a pregnancy and your periods will stop.
As your ovaries will continue to function, you may be able to fertilise your eggs through IVF and use a surrogate to carry the pregnancy.
Some early-stage gynaecological cancers can be treated with fertility-sparing surgery (trachelectomy).
Podcast: Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis
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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