After cancer therapy, patients who wish to have children may want to consult with a reproductive endocrinologist. It does not appear that pregnancy after cancer increases the risk of cancer recurrence. Also, children who are born to cancer survivors do not appear to be at a higher risk of birth defects. Researchers are actively working on getting more data, but the information available to date is reassuring. For some patients, it may be appropriate to measure ovarian reserve, which indicates the quality and quantity of eggs remaining in the ovaries.
Fertility Treatment & Assisted Reproduction
After cancer treatment, traditional assisted reproductive technologies including controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) may be appropriate to help some cancer survivors achieve pregnancy.
Third Party Reproduction: Egg Donation
For cancer survivors who become menopausal with cancer treatment, egg donation is a highly effective option for becoming pregnant. A known or anonymous egg donor would undergo stimulation of her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. These eggs would be combined with sperm, and the embryos that result would be implanted in the cancer survivor. The sperm that would be used may either be from the cancer survivor’s partner or from a sperm donor.
Third Party Reproduction: Gestational Surrogacy
Because some women are unable to carry a pregnancy after cancer therapy, having a gestational surrogate carry for them may be an option. The patient would undergo IVF, and the embryos from the patient and her partner (the intended parents) would then be implanted in the gestational surrogate.