Some cancer treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, may impact your fertility and ability to have children. It may also affect your body’s long-term production of hormones.
It is important that you discuss these potential side effects and the possible fertility preservation methods with your medical team before commencing treatment. If you’ve already started treatment, there may also be options available to you.
If required, your doctor can refer you to specialist fertility services who can explain the options with you in-depth. These may include freezing eggs, embryos and sperm beforehand, as well as certain medications during treatment.
The decision to have or not have children, or to preserve your fertility, is up to you. It is best to discuss your options and possible long-term impact with your partner, medical team and your psychologist before making up your mind.
Questions to ask
- Will cancer treatment affect my fertility?
- How do we protect my fertility before and during treatment?
- Will fertility preservation cause any delay to commencing cancer treatment?
- What options would be best for me?
- Can you refer me to a specialist?
- What are the immediate and long-term costs involved with fertility preservation?
- Is it covered by Medicare in the public health system or by my private health insurance?
- If I do become infertile after treatment, what are the other options for having children?
- Cancer Council: Fertility and cancer.
- Canteen: A guide to fertility for young people with cancer.
- Future Fertility: Resources for AYA patients.
- Movember True North: Fertility for men.
- The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne: Cancer treatment and fertility.
- YouCan Fertility, by Sony Foundation: free fertility preservation for people aged 13-30yo (conditions apply)
- Australasian Menopause Society: Early Menopause due to Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy
- Jean Hailes: Menopause after cancer
Options after infertility
For those who do become infertile after cancer treatment, without any fertility preservation in place, there are options available to include children in your family. It is best to discuss your options with your specialist and medical team, but here is some information about adoption and surrogacy in Australia.
- Intercountry Adoption
- Local adoptions by state: