Ovarian Cancer and Fertility
Are you a woman who has had ovarian cancer and have concerns about fertility? If you still have one ovary, you may still be able to get pregnant. If you don’t, you may still have many options to choose from if you still want to have a baby.
How Ovarian Cancer Treatment Affects Fertility
Infertility may happen if you have had any of the following treatments for your ovarian cancer:
- Chemotherapy. Can cause a woman’s menstrual cycle to cease and it disrupts the functioning of your ovaries.
- Surgical intervention. Both of your ovaries were surgically removed. The ovaries hold the eggs so without the eggs, you cannot become pregnant.
- Radiation. Radiation that is directed into the pelvic region can affect your ovaries’ ability to produce a mature egg.
Understanding Your Choices to Treat Infertility
A reproductive specialist can help you with issues with infertility. This individual can explain to you all the options you have to become a parent even if you have infertility after being treated for ovarian cancer. Below are some of the ways you can still have a baby:
- In-vitro fertilization with a donor egg: If the case for you is that you have had both ovaries removed but you still have a healthy uterus, you may consider in-vitro fertilization. The egg would come from another donor and it can be fertilized by your partner’s sperm. Once the egg/sperm becomes a viable embryo, then it is implanted into your uterus. You can carry the baby full-term.
- Surrogacy: In this option, you would have another woman to carry the baby. She would be the surrogate. She becomes pregnant using either her eggs or eggs of another donor. The eggs would be artificially inseminated with the sperm from your partner. The baby would be carried to full-term by her. This is option is ideal if you have had a hysterectomy or your uterus is not healthy enough to carry a fetus. If you have other health issues that make pregnancy risky, surrogacy may be the answer for you.
- Adoption: Another way to be a parent is to adopt. Some agencies and countries from where to adopt require the parents to be off treatment and cancer-free for a designated amount of time before they can be eligible to adopt.
Other Infertility Treatments in The Horizon
Fertility doctors and researchers are looking into other ways to help couples become parents. Ovarian tissue freezing is a treatment where a biopsy or resection of some of the ovary is removed and froze. The frozen cells can be saved and later put back into the woman when she is ready to become pregnant. Eggs can be removed and frozen for a later date with the new advances in medicine. The eggs are removed and fertilized and then the embryos are frozen to be used when the woman wants to become pregnant. This option depends on if the woman has a good ovarian reserve and that there is no cancer in the “good” ovary.
In today’s world, you can have a baby even if you are clinically infertile. You have many options available to you so that you can have the family you wish to have. If you have infertility issues after ovarian cancer treatment, be sure to seek counseling to deal with any emotional difficulties you may have with it. There is nothing wrong with seeking out help in a situation like this.