The Fertility Center | Blog

How Do Different Types of Cancer Affect Fertility?

By Dr. Jesús Alberto Félix Atondo

Younger people are getting cancer at increasing rates, which can lead to infertility post-treatment. For people of childbearing years, the most often asked question is, “How do different types of cancer affect fertility, and what can be done to preserve my fertility in the future?”


Why Oncofertility is Important

 When males and females of childbearing years are diagnosed with cancer, the last thing on their minds is if they can have children after treatment. Even if they have never considered having children, oncofertility preservation (freezing ovum, sperm, and reproductive tissue) offers the opportunity to have children in the future.

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The severity of your infertility depends on the type of cancer you have and its treatment. While most people don’t think of IVF and cancer in the same sentence, you can conceive post-cancer with the help of IVF!


What Types of Cancer Affect Fertility?

The cancers with the highest risk of affecting your fertility are cancers of the reproductive system, your thyroid, and some blood cancers.

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer can cause infertility in both men and women. When you have thyroid cancer, the increased secretion of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (also known as TSH, which stimulates your thyroid to release other hormones) and Prolactin (a hormone that affects reproduction) often leads to infertility.

Leukemia and Lymphoma (Blood Cancers)

While blood cancers themselves do not cause infertility, one of the biggest side effects of chemotherapy drugs used to treat these conditions is infertility. These drugs are toxic to cells that form eggs and sperm especially when a combination of these drugs are used in these treatments.

Cervical Cancer

Because your cervix is the lower portion of your womb, unless your cancer is caught early, your cervix may need to be removed. Cervical mucus is essential in assisting sperm to get to the egg for fertilization.

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer leads to the possible removal of your ovaries. Without ovaries, you lose the ability to release eggs monthly.

Uterine Cancer

Uterine tissues, the lining, and muscles are impacted by uterine cancer. In more advanced uterine cancer, a hysterectomy is needed. Because this cancer affects the reproductive system directly, it causes infertility. In the cases where a hysterectomy is done, carrying a child is no longer an option.

Testicular Cancer

In testicular cancer, the treatments and the cancer itself can cause infertility. Although only a small percentage of men get cancer in both testicles, the unaffected testicle may not function normally. Your testicles produce testosterone and make sperm, any damage to them will directly affect male fertility.

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Post-Cancer Fertility Options

A consultation with an oncofertility specialist before your cancer treatments will ensure you have fertility options when you are ready to conceive. In many couples, with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and in cases where the uterus has been removed, a surrogate will be necessary to carry the baby to term.

Oncofertility preservation allows you to freeze your healthy sperm, embryos, and eggs to be used later.

Egg Preservation

Your Oocyte (eggs) are retrieved after a cycle of ovarian stimulation. The eggs are then frozen very quickly in a process known as vitrification. Once the eggs are frozen, they can be stored for decades. Once you decide to conceive your eggs will be thawed and ready for fertilization.

Freezing your eggs allows ninety percent of the cells to remain intact, leading to a better in vitro fertilization success rate!

Embryo Preservation

Laboratory fertilized eggs and sperm are used to create embryos for embryo freezing. This process is more complex than freezing eggs and sperm. Each embryo is placed in a cryoprotectant solution to prevent damage during freezing. The embryos are hermetically stored in straws submerged in liquid nitrogen for instantaneous freezing and stored in a nitrogen preservation tank. The frozen embryos are thawed for transplantation.

Sperm Preservation

Oncofertility preservation of sperm is much like freezing eggs and embryos. Once the sperm sample has been collected, the sample is analyzed, and the healthiest sperm is chosen. All water is removed from the sample using dehydration to eliminate crystal formation. The sample is then frozen through the vitrification process and stored until needed. Sperm can remain frozen for decades.

A cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to mean you will never have a family. Oncofertility preservation allows post-cancer patients to have the families they dream of.

The Fertility Center Mexico offers oncofertility preservation at nearly half the cost in the United States. Our state-of-the-art cryopreservation ensures your sperm, embryos, and eggs will be ready to use when you start your family.

All oncofertility preservation begins with an evaluation with our oncofertility experts. Our bilingual concierges will help you with all necessary paperwork, scheduled appointments, and accommodations. Contact our fertility clinic in Mexico for an assessment today and start the journey to parenthood! Ask about our best services such as timed intercourse cycle and ask us about sperm freezing cost or egg freezing Mexico cost.

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Dr. Jesús Alberto Félix Atondo

Gynecology, Obstetrics and Biology of Human Reproduction Surgeon at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, specialist Biologist of Human Reproduction by the Mexican Institute of Infertility.

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