Fertility may not be the first thing on your mind when you are diagnosed with cancer; you have a lot of big decisions to make and not a lot of time to make them! If you are just starting out on this cancer journey, discussing the impact of your diagnosis and treatment on your ability to have children is important to fully understanding your options and to let your team know your plans for starting a family. Not all cancers and treatments impact fertility, but many do; understanding your risk is important.
Through the YAC Prime Study, Lauren Daniel and her research team found that only half of patients discussed fertility with their medical team, and only 13 per cent went through any type of fertility preserving procedure. A common reason for not going through with fertility preservation is not feeling like there is enough time.
Even if you don’t want kids right now, discussing your options with your medical team can be important to your adjustment later. Oncologists are a really great resource and Reproductive Endocrinologists who specialize in fertility and reproduction can be especially helpful to understand all the possibilities for your unique case.
If you didn’t undergo fertility preservation, there are still options for starting a family. Speak to your medical team to learn about how your treatment may have affected fertility. There are many other options such as surrogacy, egg/sperm donors, and adoption to consider as well.
You are not alone in starting a family; your medical team wants to help and your fellow YACCers can be a great sounding board for the stresses related to fertility in cancer survivors.
For more information: https://fertilefuture.ca/patient-resources/