If your uterus is removed or you have radiation therapy to the uterus and cervix, you will not be able to conceive children or carry a pregnancy. Before treatment starts, ask your doctor or a fertility specialist about what options are available to you.
Being told that your reproductive organs will be removed or will no longer work can be devastating. Even if your family is complete or you did not want children, you may still feel a sense of loss and grief. These reactions are common. Speaking to a counsellor or gynaecological oncology nurse about your feelings and individual situation can be helpful.
For more on this, see Fertility and cancer.
Ways to preserve fertility
- If you have not already been through menopause, ask about ways to preserve your fertility. One option may be to store eggs or embryos for use in the future. These can be implanted in your body, if you still have a healthy uterus, or into a surrogate.
- Having a trachelectomy, where only the cervix is removed, may be an option. It will still be possible to become pregnant after this procedure, but you will be at higher risk of having a miscarriage and having the baby prematurely. Your doctor can discuss these risks with you.
The first time I met my surgeon she said, ‘You should go and see a fertility specialist’. The only way to describe the process is that it was overwhelming. However, it’s better not to delay it.Mackenzie
Podcast: Coping with a cancer diagnosis
Dr Pearly Khaw, Lead Radiation Oncologist, Gynae-Tumour Stream, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Deborah Neesham, Gynaecological Oncologist, The Royal Women’s Hospital and Frances Perry House, VIC; Kate Barber, 13 11 20 Consultant, VIC; Dr Alison Davis, Medical Oncologist, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Krystle Drewitt, Consumer; Shannon Philp, Nurse Practitioner, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and The University of Sydney Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, NSW; Dr Robyn Sayer, Gynaecological Oncologist Cancer Surgeon, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Megan Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Cancer Council NSW; Melissa Whalen, Consumer.
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.
Fertility and cancer
It is common for people affected by cancer to wonder about their ability to have children now or in the future
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