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cancer and fertility



The ability to have a baby in future is an important topic that every young cancer patient should know about. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, in a relationship, older or younger, or even if you’ve finished treatment already, you need to know what your options are.

 

When you’ve just found out you have cancer or are worrying about how sick chemo might make you, being able to have children might not seem that important. It may seem a long time away and too hard or too strange to even think about, but the more you know – and the sooner you know it – the better.

 

Not being doctors or fertility experts, it's not our role to give advice, but we know from our experience with young people and their families what a serious issue this is.

asking questions about fertility

The first step is to talk to your doctors. Ask them as many questions as you need to, including things like:

  • Will my ability to have children be affected by my treatment?
  • If it is affected, what options are there are to preserve my fertility?

As well as your own medical team, there are experts in fertility who you can talk to who specialise in helping young people facing cancer treatment.

handling awkward conversations

Young people have told us how difficult it can be to have conversations about things like sperm donation or egg harvesting, especially with your parents in the room. Remember that you can always ask to talk to the doctor or nurse alone, or ask to talk to them again if you didn’t have the chance to ask the questions you wanted to the first time. Your hospital social worker can also help you manage these conversations, and the Redkite support team is here for you.

is it too late?

If you’re reading this and you’ve already started or even finished treatment, and haven’t had a conversation about fertility, don’t worry. The important thing to do is make sure you talk to someone about your particular situation, so organise an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to explore options.

more information

Last updated September 2015.