Checking your fertility

After cancer treatment, it’s often difficult to know exactly if or when your fertility will recover. You can have tests to check your fertility. They may show:

  • how likely you are to have children naturally
  • if fertility treatment might help.

Your cancer doctor or GP can arrange fertility tests for you. The results may help you decide what to do next, for example whether you want to have fertility treatments. Tests are free on the NHS, but you may have to pay to have tests done privately.

Deciding whether to have fertility tests

It’s your decision whether to have fertility tests or not. Some people want to get as much information as possible about their fertility. Having the test results helps them understand their options and plan for the future. But everyone is different. Here are some things to think about before you decide.

Do you want fertility tests?

  • Some people decide to have tests because they want to try for a baby. But you don’t have to be in a relationship or ready to start a family to have fertility tests. You may just prefer to know more about your fertility.
  • Sometimes other people, such as a partner or parents, want you to have fertility tests. This may seem like a good reason, but it may mean you have tests when you are not ready. Think about if, and when, you want to have the tests.

Are you ready for the results?

  • You need to feel you can cope with the test results, whatever they are. If you’re not sure you are ready to know, it may help to talk to your healthcare team first. They can answer any questions and explain the possible issues for your fertility.
  • Think about who will support you when you get your test results.
  • If you are in a relationship, it may help to talk to your partner before having the test. Try to talk about your hopes for the future, how the tests results might affect these and how you would cope.

When is the right time to have fertility tests?

Your cancer doctor may suggest you wait six months after you’ve finished cancer treatment, or sometimes longer, before having fertility tests. If you have tests too soon after cancer treatment, your body may still be recovering and you won’t get a clear test result.

Some people decide they don’t want to have tests until they are:

  • ready to cope with the results
  • a certain age
  • in a long-term relationship
  • ready to start a family.

Some stages of life are more busy or stressful than others. You may be going through exams, leaving school or college, leaving home or starting a new job. If you are coping with a lot of big changes, it may not be the best time to think about fertility testing.