Breast Cancer and Your Fertility
A breast cancer diagnosis packs twice the punch when you’re a younger woman planning to have children. Fortunately, fertility preservation methods make it possible for breast cancer survivors to conceive and carry their own baby. The key is to make your fertility wishes known immediately to your oncologist so you can select the best course of action to protect both your health and your future fertility.
According to breastcancer.org, current research shows that doctors often don’t provide enough information about what can happen to fertility with different breast cancer treatments, and most doctors don’t direct patients to fertility specialists for counseling before treatment begins.
Future Fertility is Possible After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Fertility is possible after a breast cancer diagnosis, but swift action is usually the best course. We recommend:
Getting a referral to a fertility specialist
While your oncologist means well, his/her expertise is cancer treatment and the number one goal is to make you cancer-free. It’s important that you get an immediate referral to a fertility specialist. Your fertility doctor’s primary goal (after your health) is to ensure you can hold a future baby in your arms.
Fertility specialists are well-versed on the best treatment per patient, based on their diagnosis and course of treatment.
Understand the time frame.
In most cases, doctors recommend patients wait at least two-years after breast cancer treatment before getting pregnant. In addition to letting the body heal, they want your body to remain well. Since pregnancy is taxing on the body –and puts baby’s well-being first –mothers are best off getting healthy prior to experiencing pregnancy and delivery.
Even if treatment doesn’t threaten your fertility, maternal age might when all is said and done because egg quality decreases with age. Keep this in mind as you create your fertility plan.
Talk to your oncologist about fertility rates after your treatment type
Different breast cancer treatments have different future fertility outcomes. Some suspend fertility temporarily, others more permanently – creating a perimenopause or menopause state. This should be discussed with your doctor to make sure your treatment aligns with both current and future goals.
Consider freezing your eggs
If anything about the process – treatment, your age now, your age when your treatment will finish, etc. – threatens your future fertility, consider freezing your eggs. This is one of the most standard and straightforward ways to preserve fertility now, allowing you to conceive later on via IVF.
Be careful about future birth control
Once cancer treatment is complete, choose birth control wisely. Certain forms of breast cancer are fed via estrogen, and the last thing you want to do is choose birth control that catalyze your breast cancer’s return.
Have you recently received a breast cancer diagnosis? Contact the compassionate and experienced team here at Reproductive Resource Center of Kansas City. We’ll help you chart the best, healthiest and most safe fertility course for your future family.
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RRC has over 200 years of combined experience. As a leading reproductive health, infertility, and in-vitro fertilization (or IVF) center based in Kansas City, we're proud to have the highest level of expertise available to our patients.