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cancer and fertility


For a young person facing cancer, thinking ahead can be difficult enough, let alone thinking about something like whether or not they’ll be able to have children. But decisions made at the start of treatment can have long-term effects, so it’s a good idea to find out about treatment and fertility as early as possible. 


If the young person is 18 or nearing adulthood, they will be the ones who make this decision, but they still may want your support. 

getting information about fertility and treatment

Our support team can’t give you medical advice, but we know from experience what a serious issue this can be. We encourage you to seek out information that will help you make decisions. Here are some things you can do: 

  • Talk to the treating team who may refer you to a fertility expert, or you can ask to talk with one
  • Read the Cancer Council's 'Fertility and Cancer' guide on Cancer Advisor
  • Ask your team to explain what effects treatment could have on fertility and what options there are to preserve it 
  • Talk to your hospital social worker or Redkite's support team 

support through awkward discussions

Some families are comfortable talking about sex, but for others this can be awkward. Unfortunately, a lot of young people don’t find out about their fertility options purely out of embarrassment. 


It may help to give young people time alone to talk to the medical team, or to ask your hospital social worker to help them through the conversation. If you’re the partner of a young person facing cancer, their hospital social worker and the Redkite support team can support you through these discussions as well. 

what if treatment has already started?

If treatment has already started or even finished, it’s not necessarily too late to find out about fertility options. Organise an appointment with your doctor or treating team as soon as possible, no matter what stage of treatment you’re at.

Last updated September 2015.