Understanding the Concerns for Pregnancy Safety After Cancer Treatment
Is Pregnancy Safe After Cancer Treatment?
In the overwhelming majority of cases, pregnancy following cancer treatment does appear to be safe. This holds true even following treatment for breast cancer. Although oocytes may be damaged temporarily, and ovarian function may be significantly impaired – even resulting in menopausal symptoms – ovarian function does occasionally return to a pre-treatment state.
Similarly, although sperm cells may be damaged by either chemotherapy or radiation, there are studies that suggest that the cells may very well become normal again at a later date.
Several studies have evaluated the rate of birth defects in children born to cancer survivors. These rates fortunately do not appear to be any greater than that of the normal population, ranging from 2 % to 6%. In addition, with the exception of families who have true genetic cancer syndromes, there does not appear to be any increased risk of cancer in offspring of cancer survivors.
In summary, fertility preservation is a very viable option for most patients undergoing treatment for cancer or other chronic diseases. Inclusion of your TFC physician as early as possible in the treatment planning process is important in order to achieve the best results.