If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, taking the time to process all the information and making decisions regarding the preservation of your fertility is very crucial.
Let’s look at how some breast cancer treatments negatively impact your fertility:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy can cause your periods to stop as well as reduce the quantity and quality of your eggs. There is a chance that women below the age of 35 years may regain their fertility after stopping chemotherapy, but those above 35 years of age could become permanently infertile.
- Radiation therapy: The problem of potential infertility with radiation therapy is not as significant when compared to chemotherapy. The beams of radiation are usually targeted at the affected area away from the reproductive organs; however, the radiation may still be able to pass through healthy tissue and affect the reproductive organs.
- Hormone therapy: This form of treatment is used in patients with breast cancer that is stimulated by the female hormone estrogen. Hormone therapy may cause temporary or permanent cessation of your periods. The therapy is given for a period of 5 years or more and if you are in your late 30s or 40s, you may naturally go into menopause during treatment.
- Surgery: Some women who have a higher genetic risk of recurrence of breast cancer may opt to undergo prophylactic ovary removal as part of their breast cancer treatment. This will obviously result in infertility.
Here are some procedures that will help you prepare for fertility before breast cancer treatment:
- Ovarian Stimulation: The procedure involves hormone injections that increase the production of eggs by your ovaries. These eggs can be collected and stored for use after completion of breast cancer treatment.
- Hormonal Suppression: Hormones are used to suppress the production of eggs temporarily shutting down and protecting the reproductive system.
- Egg Freezing: The procedure involves preservation of unfertilized eggs by freezing. The unfertilized egg can then be thawed and combined with sperm in a laboratory and later implanted in your womb.
- Embryo Freezing: The harvested egg is combined with sperm in the laboratory and allowed to develop into an embryo which is then frozen for later use. In addition to the methods mentioned above, you can also discuss with your oncologist the possibility of using less-toxic drugs or treatments that might minimize damage to your reproductive system.
ReproMed fertility clinics are located throughout Dallas, Grapevine, McKinney, Rockwall and in Tyler, Texas, giving patients convenient access to experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate reproductive health specialists. Contact us for an appointment today.