Fertility issues

Some cancer treatments can cause infertility (difficulty conceiving a baby), which can be temporary or permanent. If fertility is important to you, talk to your doctor before treatment starts about your risk of infertility and ways to preserve your fertility. It may be possible to store your eggs or sperm for use in the future.

When people learn that they may be permanently infertile, they often feel a great sense of loss. You may be devastated that you won’t have your own children or additional children, and you may worry about the impact of this on your relationship or future relationships. Even if your family is complete or you weren’t planning to have children, you may experience strong emotions.

As well as talking with your partner, it may help to talk with a counsellor, sex therapist, oncologist, urologist or oncology nurse.

If female reproductive organs are affected

Surgery that removes part or all of the reproductive organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix will cause your periods to stop and you will be unable to have children naturally.

Depending on the type of chemotherapy drugs used and the dose, periods may become irregular but often return after treatment ends. In some cases, periods stop permanently and lead to menopause.

If sperm production is affected

Surgery for bladder, prostate or testicular cancer may damage the nerves for getting and keeping an erection – this may be temporary, but some men may not get strong erections again. If the problem is ongoing, ask your doctor about storing sperm.

Chemotherapy may reduce or stop sperm production and affect the ability of sperm to move. This can sometimes cause temporary or permanent infertility.

If you have radiation therapy in the pelvic or groin area, you may have temporary or permanent fertility problems after treatment. If your testicles are outside the treatment area, they can usually be protected. Radiation therapy to the brain may damage the pituitary gland, which affects the production of sperm and affects sex drive.

Tips for managing fertility and treatment

  • If you think you may want to have children in the future, discuss ways to preserve or protect your fertility with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins.
  • Share your feelings about any fertility issues with your partner, who may also be worried or grieving.
  • Ask your doctor what precautions to use during treatment. You may need to use barrier contraception, such as condoms or female condoms, to reduce any potential risk of the treatments harming a developing baby or being toxic to your partner.
  • Tell your cancer specialist immediately if you or your partner become pregnant during treatment.
  • Consider having tests to check if your fertility has been affected.

For more on this, see our Fertility and cancer.

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in May 2019
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