Infertility, the inability to have children, should be a concern to men and women of childbearing age undergoing treatment for their cancer. Treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery can all impact your fertility.
Chemotherapy, while extremely effective at treating cancer, can cause damage to the germ cells, the egg and sperm cells, in your body. Not all chemotherapies will cause infertility. The type, dose and length of treatment play a role in factoring the damage done to germ cells. Radiation is another type of treatment that can cause infertility in men and women. Radiation to the pelvic region of the body can cause cellular damage while radiation to the head and neck can cause the body to stop hormone production that is necessary for reproduction. Cancer-related surgeries that occur in the reproductive organs of the body also have the potential to affect your fertility.
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The good news is that there are plenty of options out there to preserve fertility. You need an individualized consultation to determine the best and most mature technology available for your unique circumstances in order to make an informed decision. The Oncofertility Consortium can help guide you through that process and put you in touch with the right centers to help you navigate through cancer and fertility treatments.