How Breast Cancer Affects Fertility

breast cancer

How Breast Cancer Affects Fertility

Cancer treatments of any kind can have a drastic effect on female fertility. In a recent study, as many as two-thirds of women who underwent chemotherapy stopped menstruating after treatment. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are hoping to start a family after treatment, you need to discuss your fertility preservation with a fertility specialist before you begin any type of treatment to maximize your options.

Can Chemo Effects Be Reversed?

In some cases, you may be able to reserve some of the fertility effects of chemo through a series of hormone replacement therapy. In these cases, your doctor will administer a series of hormones designed to induce ovulation and menstruation. These treatments work in some cases but not all women will regain the ability to ovulate. Success depends greatly on age, sexual health prior to treatment, and the type of cancer treatment used.

Chemotherapy and Fertility

According to the American Cancer Society, Cytoxan, Platinol, and Adriamycin have been shown to have a high risk of ovarian damage. Before beginning cancer treatment, talk with your oncologist to see if alternative treatments would be beneficial. Medications such as Methotrexate, Vincristine, and 5 Fluorouracil show a much lower risk of infertility.

Fertility Preservation Options

Many women choose to freeze their eggs for later use after the cancer treatment. These eggs can then be used in intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization procedures. Freezing your eggs could be one of the most important steps you’ll ever take when it comes to protecting your future fertility dreams. Eggs can be vitrified, a process that transforms them into a non-crystalline solid, making them better able to stand up to the thawing process.

Many couples consider the adoption of an embryo or use donor eggs. If you are not able to carry a child during pregnancy, you may opt to use a surrogate mother. For more information about breast cancer and fertility preservation, contact the Fertility Center of Dallas or call us at 214-496-5153.


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