When you're diagnosed with breast cancer, so many emotions arise and you have so many decisions to make. It can be overwhelming. And if you want to get pregnant and have children in the future, the medical decisions become even more complex.
Many women diagnosed with breast cancer have fertility concerns. But because each woman's situation is unique, it's not easy to study pregnancy in women with breast cancer or women who have been treated for breast cancer. It's difficult to find women with the same cancer status and fertility outcomes who can be compared in randomized clinical trials. The studies done so far have mostly looked at small groups of women. Still, there are some guidelines and research results that can help you and your doctor make decisions.
If having children is important to you, one of the most critical things you can do as you're planning your treatment is talk to your doctor about your fertility options. Research shows that doctors often don't provide enough information about what can happen to fertility with different breast cancer treatments, and most doctors don't direct patients to fertility specialists for counseling before treatment begins. So if your doctor isn't starting the conversation, it's important to speak up about your concerns.
In this section, you can read about:
- Treatments That Affect Fertility
- Being Diagnosed During Pregnancy
- Pregnancy After Treatment
- Birth Control After Treatment
- Options if You Can't Become Pregnant After Treatment
- Fertility Issues to Discuss Before You Start Treatment
To connect with others who may be managing fertility and pregnancy issues along with breast cancer, visit the Breastcancer.org Discussion Board Young With Breast Cancer forum.
The experts for Fertility and Pregnancy Issues During and After Breast Cancer are:
- Kutluk Oktay, M.D., professor of obstetrics & gynecology and director of the Division of Reproductive Medicine & Infertility at New York Medical College; medical director of the Institute for Fertility Preservation at the Center for Human Reproduction in New York, NY
- Gina Shaw, health, medicine, and science writer and author of Having Children After Cancer
These experts are members of the Breastcancer.org Professional Advisory Board, including more than 70 medical experts in breast cancer-related fields.