- Question from Whoopsiedoodles: We have been trying to get pregnant since a year after I ended my treatment (chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation). It will be 3 years since my diagnosis as of September 29th. We've had no luck (obviously), and I tried to get in to see a fertility specialist. They turned me away, saying they prefer I am at least 5 years out of treatment. Is this standard? Where do I turn for help if a fertility clinic won't help?
- Answers - Kutluk Oktay, M.D. There's absolutely no scientific data to support one has to wait 5 years before entering pregnancy. Each case should be individualized, but studies have shown that conceiving as early as 6 months after successful treatment of breast cancer does not increase risk of recurrence.
- Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D. It sounds like you need to find a different infertility specialist who's more familiar with treating women with cancer.
- Kutluk Oktay, M.D. Fertility preservation is a sub-specialty within reproductive endocrinology. You should seek out a physician who is experienced in treating fertility issues of cancer patients.
- Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D. It may not be so easy if you do not live near a major city, but since you usually have to pay for your infertility treatment out of your own pocket, unless you're lucky enough to have insurance coverage, it might be worth doing some traveling to find an expert. There are also websites that offer fertility information -- FertileHope.org and FertilityPreservation.org.
- Kutluk Oktay, M.D. Also, some experts offer phone consultations, so it might be worth it to get an opinion over the phone with a competent expert who will look at your medical facts and make a recommendation. Experts as such usually communicate with the patient's oncologist to jointly decide that treatment is safe for them.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Fertility and Pregnancy featured Kutluk Oktay, M.D. and Leslie Schover, Ph.D. answering your questions about breast cancer treatments that can affect your fertility, options for preserving your fertility, being treated for breast cancer while pregnant, and more.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in September 2008.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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