General cancer information

Fertility problems

General cancer information

Fertility problems star_border Save this page

Fertility means being able to have children. Some cancer treatments can affect fertility. These changes may be temporary or permanent.

If maintaining your fertility is important to you, talk to your doctor about this BEFORE you start treatment. 

Some cancer treatments can harm a developing baby. While you are receiving these treatments you should avoid becoming pregnant or fathering a child. Talk to your doctor about this. If you are pregnant or think there is any chance that you may be pregnant it is important to discuss this with your doctor.

Be prepared

Know what to expect

Ask your doctor whether your treatment could affect your fertility, and if this is likely to be temporary or permanent. It is important to discuss this before starting any cancer treatment.

Preserving fertility

You may be able to protect your fertility.  To do this you need to see a fertility specialist before starting your cancer treatment. Fertility preservation options are different for women and men.

Know who to contact if you have a problem

Ask your doctor or nurse:

  • when you should call for help or advice
  • who you should contact
  • how to contact them (including at night or weekends).

Keep this information where you can easily find it.

checklist Checklists

Use our checklists to find helpful tips or questions to ask.

Managing symptoms

Checking fertility after treatment

It may take a while after treatment before you know how it has affected your fertility. You may need to go to a fertility testing clinic to find this out. Ask your doctor or nurse about this.

Dealing with infertility

Infertility is when you can’t have children, or have problems getting pregnant or fathering a child. Experiencing infertility can be distressing.

Even if you don’t want to have children it can still be upsetting to lose your fertility. It can help to talk to someone. Ask to see a social worker or clinical psychologist if this is a concern for you. 

Where to get help

There are people you can talk to for more information or support.

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