Browser does not support script.
Skip to main content
Find out how we produce our information|
Your medical team will be able to answer questions about your situation, but here are some common questions about fertility.
Most teenagers and young adults who have had cancer won’t have long-term problems. Often it’s not possible to tell for some time after treatment| what damage, if any, has been done, and whether the damage is temporary or permanent.
As far as we know, most young people who’ve had cancer will find that the cancer or its treatment doesn’t permanently damage their reproductive system. For people who have temporary damage to their reproductive system, how quickly it recovers varies from person to person. Full recovery can never be guaranteed.
If you have permanent damage to your reproductive system, you won’t be able to have children naturally. This can be very distressing and you may need some emotional support.
Most young women who have an early menopause from cancer treatment should be offered hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Taking replacement hormones has a protective effect on your body. It does this by keeping your hormone levels similar to the level they’d be at if you hadn’t had cancer treatment. HRT helps to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis (brittle bones) and heart disease.
Occasionally women are advised not to take HRT because of the type of cancer they have. Your doctor will advise you on whether it’s safe for you to take hormones.
No, taking replacement hormones will allow your body to age in the same way that it would have done otherwise.
The effect of cancer treatment on fertility is the same regardless of whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or heterosexual.
There is nothing you can do to stop the effect your treatment has on your fertility. There are studies looking at using hormone therapy to protect fertility in women having chemotherapy. But we don’t yet know how effective it is.
You should talk to your doctor about your options for fertility preservation| before starting your treatment.
Yes. You may be advised to use condoms when having sex while you’re receiving chemotherapy treatment and for a few days afterwards. This is because there’s a small possibility that chemotherapy drugs can be passed to your partner through seminal and vaginal fluids.
It may feel as though you’re getting mixed messages if your doctor tells you to use contraception when they’ve also told you that you may be infertile. The problem is that no one can know for sure whether the treatment has caused infertility, so it’s best to use contraception to avoid any chance of you or your partner becoming pregnant accidentally.
Getting pregnant accidentally is hard enough for anyone to cope with. However, it can be especially difficult if you’ve had cancer, as there are extra factors to weigh up when deciding whether or not to have children.
Content last reviewed: 1 June 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
You can also follow us| on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
what are these?|