How does cancer affect infertility in men and women?

The BIG C or cancer is the worst nightmare a person can ever have. It affects the lives of the whole family and not only the patient. More so if contracted at an early age. Early onset of cancer affects fertility issues in both men and women. But there is always hope for having babies with fertility treatment after completion of cancer treatments for both men and women.

Many young women and men are diagnosed with various kinds of cancer.

Even with modern technology, it is found that treatments can be damaging to the reproductive potential which results in infertility of cancer survivors. Cancer patients often contemplate the consequences of their treatments on child-bearing potential.

In females, ovarian toxicity induced by chemotherapy or radiotherapy is one of the most notable morbidities of cancer treatment which results in acceleration of ongoing, physiologic oocyte reduction.

The harmful consequences of chemotherapeutic agents usually are defined by their mechanism, dosage, and blend with other agents. But, it is necessary to note that the patient's age (ovarian reserve) and the period of time amid chemotherapy and efforts at reproduction remain the most significant predictors of following ovarian function. Therefore, more aged ladies have a greater risk of chemotherapy-induced POF and menopause than younger ones given similar chemotherapeutic treatments.

Effects of Cancer treatment in Male Infertility

  • There are many causes for infertility in men. Genetic and physiological defects, diabetes, STDs, mumps or autoimmune diseases like HIV and cancer. Cancer treatments involve Chemotherapy and or radiation depending upon the case. Chemotherapy works by killing cell which are quickly dividing by nature. Chemotherapy kills the cancerous as well as the non-cancerous cells like hair follicles, stomach lining and sperm cells.
  • Infertility in men can be caused by radiation therapy. It depends on the dosage and which part of the body is being treated. High beams are used to kill cancer cells and a few healthy one get killed along with the cancer cells. It is certainly possible to get back to normalcy with fertility treatments.
  • Men can take measures to preserve their fertility before going through cancer treatment.

Effects of Cancer treatment in Female Infertility

Infertility causes in women are many more than in men. Infertility issues like PCOS crop up from the time of attaining puberty. A gynaecologist will help in diagnosing the ailment. Apart from PCOS, endocrinal or hormonal disorders, some genetic issues and cancer treatments are significantly responsible for infertility in women. Radiation treatments and chemotherapy are individually responsible for killing healthy cells. In fact, radiation treatment given in the abdominal, spinal or pelvic area is bound to negatively impact the reproduction system. Cancer treatment may damage the ovules or eggs required for fertilisation and pregnancy. This damage can result in irregular menstrual cycles. Damage to the uterus or cervix because of chemotherapy or radiation can also impact the ability to carry a full term pregnancy.

Women who are about to be treated for cancer, have several options for preserving their fertility.

They can opt for the following:

  • Embryo cryopreservation is a procedure that involves fertilizing eggs and freezing them so that later they can be implanted.
  • Egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) is a procedure where the unfertilized eggs are harvested and frozen.
  • Radiation shielding is a procedure where small lead shields are kept over the ovaries to reduce the impact of radiation exposure.
  • Ovarian transposition (oophoropexy) is a procedure where the ovaries are surgically placed in a different position in the pelvis.
  • Surgical removal of the cervix is a procedure includes removal of the cancerous area and the uterus and remaining cervix is preserved.

It is safe for a woman to have a baby after cancer treatment. Pregnancy does not increase the risk of cancer in women. However the doctors may sometimes suggest a little waiting period before opting for pregnancy. The criteria for the wait maydepend on the advice of the gynaecologist, depending on the type of cancer and at which stage, type of treatment given during treatment period and just as important- the woman’s age and the time taken for fertility treatment which will generally be required.

Depending on the type of cancer in the man or the woman, it is not an impossible situation for a couple to get pregnant and carry the pregnancy to full term. Your doctor will examine the type of cancer you have, your treatment strategy and the time you have before your treatment starts to help plan the best way for you.

If you are looking for best fertility specialist in Hyderabad, it is a good option to visit Juhi Fertility Clinic which is the best fertility center in Hyderabad.

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