Getting Pregnant After Cancer

What are the risks of attempting to get pregnant after cancer? Should you try? How long should you wait? What is the risk to the child and mother? Host Dawn Davenport interviewed two of the leading experts in the US on pregnancy after cancer: Dr. Jacqueline Jeruss, a breast surgeon, the Oncofertility Consortium’s Clinical Co-Director of Oncology and an Assistant Professor within the Department of Surgery and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University; and Dr. Nicole Noyes, reproductive endocrinologist with NYU Fertility Center, professor and the director of reproductive surgery at the New York University School of Medicine and Medical Center, and President of the ASRM Special Interest Group on Fertility Preservation.

Hit the Highlights
  • Should you attempt a pregnancy after being treated for cancer?
  • Does pregnancy increase a woman’s risk of cancer reoccurrence?
  • What about the 2012 study that found that pregnancy after cancer treatment actually protected a woman from a reoccurrence?
  • What is the general time frame that women should wait after cancer treatment before trying to get pregnant?
  • Does the time frame differ for men?
  • Are there any types of cancers where a woman should really not attempt a pregnancy?
  • How to preserve your fertility if you are diagnosed with cancer? How to pay for the treatment necessary to retrieve eggs for future IVF procedures after successfully treating the cancer?
  • Are pregnancies after cancer at a higher risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and low birth weight?
  • Are the children conceived after cancer treatment more at risk for birth defects?
  • Is it possible for woman who have had surgery for gynecological cancers, such as cervical cancer, to carry a baby to full term?
  • Can a woman who has been treated for ovarian cancer conceive?
  • Is fertility treatment always necessary for cancer survivors to get pregnant?
  • What type of infertility treatment is used for former cancer patients?
  • What types of cancers have a strong genetic cause?
  • Is it possible to test embryos for these genes using preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and then achieve a pregnancy using in vitro fertilization (IVF)?
  • Should a woman who is being treated for breast cancer go off of tamoxifen in order to try to get pregnant and during the pregnancy? How to make this decision.
  • Are babies and fetuses exposed to roaming cancer cell that might have metastasized to the mother’s blood stream and not have been totally eradicated in cancer treatment?
  • Any reason that a woman with breast cancer, or other types of cancer, should not breastfeed, assuming of course, that she has not had a double mastectomy?
  • Is it possible for a woman who has been treated for breast cancer to breastfeed her baby?
  • Are there grants or funds to pay for a surrogate for those couples or women who cannot sustain a pregnancy?
  • While no one can make this decision for a woman, how does a couple weigh the risk of a reoccurrence and the possibility of bringing a child into the world that you will not be around to parent to adulthood?

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Image Credit: andycarvin