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Fertility and Breast Cancer

One in four women affected by breast cancer are diagnosed before their menopause (1). As breast cancer treatment can impact fertility the question of whether to have biological children or not may be posed to you a lot sooner than expected.

“Yesterday I was told I had cancer and now I HAVE to make a decision on if I want kids…” - Leanne, a breast cancer survivor who had two beautiful children after cancer through IVF and egg freezing

Most of the life saving breast cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and hormone therapies can affect fertility adversely. The Fertility and Breast Cancer blog covers how these treatments affect ovarian function and therefore fertility.

Fertility can be hindered by:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy 
  • Ovarian removal

Fertility preservation treatments provide you with options so that you can have biological children after your breast cancer treatment has finished:

  • Egg freezing
  • Embryo freezing
  • Ovarian freezing

More information on how these treatments impact fertility can be found here.

As your fertility may be affected by various breast cancer treatments it is important to know what options are available to preserve your fertility, before your treatment starts. Fertility preservation methods can provide you with options that may enable you to have biological children after your breast cancer treatment. 

The most common fertility preservation method available is egg or embryo freezing. This process involves taking mature eggs from the ovaries and either freezing them directly or fertilising them with a sperm, creating an embryo and then freezing them.

When your treatment is completed and you would like to become pregnant you can thaw the eggs or embryos and have them implanted in your uterus.

The choice of whether to freeze eggs or embryos or neither is very personal. You do not need to use the frozen egg or embryo if you change your mind at a later date.

To learn more about fertility preservation options head to our Breast Cancer and Fertility blog. You will also find information on reproductive counselling and useful services.

We aim to always keep you informed with the latest research, so follow us on social media and check out our other evidence-based blogs. You can find everything here.

Reference

1. Mailliez, Audrey et al. “Chimiothérapie adjuvante de cancer du sein et fertilité: estimation de l’impact, options de préservation et place de l’oncologue” [Adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer and fertility: estimation of the impact, options of preservation and role of the oncologist]. Bulletin du cancer vol. 98,7 (2011): 741-51. doi:10.1684/bdc.2011.1391

Fertility and Breast Cancer
July 05, 2021

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