Advances in the medical field have now made it possible for many a Cancer survivor to deliver happy and healthy children.Unfortunately, many cancer patients are not informed in advance about the possibility of becoming infertile while undergoing treatment.
Success of fertility treatments after cancer also depends on the type of treatment methods that have been used .Treatment induced infertility could be avoided if proper precaution is taken before cancer treatment.
Embryo freezing is done before the cancer treatment starts. The ovaries are stimulated to produce more eggs by giving hormone injections. The eggs are then collected through a needle and are fertilized using sperms. The more the number of eggs collected, the greater the chance of fertilization.
However, hormone injections cannot be given to hormone related cancers like Breast cancer as it result in cancer spreading uncontrollably. There is also the ethical issue of using donor sperms if the patient does not have a legal partner.
A relatively new technology, this method just stores the frozen eggs that are fertilized at a later stage. Egg freezing has low success rate compared to embryo freezing, as the frozen eggs are prone to genetic damage during the freezing process.
Both these techniques are time consuming and hence women who require immediate treatment do not benefit from them.
Women who require radiation therapy can remove the ovarian tissue and preserve it until the treatment is over. Ovaries can also be protected with lead shields in order to minimize the exposure to radiation.
Surgery comes under cancer treatments that can be adapted to suit individual needs. Women with cancer of the reproductive organs can think of sparing one ovary or uterus depending on the stage of cancer. Early stages of cervical cancer patients too will benefit from removing only part of the tissue (conization) or removing just the cervix without hysterectomy.
Cancer treatment can sometimes cause irreversible damage to reproductive organs, which would render any infertility treatment useless. Though this causes a lot of heartache in a woman, there are still options that you can check out.
Women who have had their womb removed and have had radiation treatment on the womb can go for surrogacy. A surrogate mother carries the baby in her womb.The baby is essentially yours as the egg and the sperm that fertilized the embryo are your’s and your partners.
Adoption is another option other than surrogacy. However, training your mind to become foster parents is really important while adopting a baby.
Cancer is not the end of the world. Be aware of the treatment options that would avoid infertility and make sure to discuss with the doctor before you undertake any sort of cancer treatment.