For many people of childbearing age, cancer treatment raises questions about their ability to grow their family by having a baby. The good news is that while there are things to consider to increase your chances for a healthy pregnancy, often it's safe to conceive at some point after cancer treatment.
Depending on your situation, you may need to wait for a time before trying to have a baby. The exact timeframe can vary based on your type of cancer, age and treatment, which can all affect fertility and a baby's health. Some people may be encouraged to delay trying to conceive for six months. Others may be advised to wait years. The main reasons you may need to postpone growing your family are to make sure you are past a time when cancer recurrence is likely and to allow any eggs or sperm that may have been damaged by radiation or chemotherapy treatment to leave your body or be replaced.
Whether you have recently been diagnosed with cancer or have finished treatment, if you think you would like to have a baby in the future, it's important to talk to your healthcare team about how your treatment plan could affect pregnancy.
Some questions to ask your healthcare team include:
- How will my cancer treatment plan affect my ability to have children?
- What can I do to maximize my chances of being able to have a baby after treatment?
- How long do you recommend I wait after treatment before starting to try to conceive?
- How could my treatment plan impact labor and delivery?
- Can having a baby affect my chances of cancer recurrence?
- How does being a cancer survivor affect who I choose as an obstetrician?
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