Chemotherapy and fertility
Infertility might shatter the self esteem of an individual and may prove to be very depressing. It is therefore essential to air all doubts to the doctor and include one's partner in the discussion.
Chemotherapy treatments may increase the risk for infertility by bringing about menopause. In some cases, the problem may be reversed once the drugs stop. Hormone Replacement Therapy(HRT) may be given for some individuals with menopausal syndromes. This issue must be raised by the individual with the doctor and also with the partner.
It is nevertheless possible for a woman to become pregnant while undergoing treatment. Chemotherapeutic drugs may harm the baby, in case of pregnancy. Therefore effective contraceptive measures, such as condoms, must be adopted.
If a woman is pregnant during chemotherapy, it is important to discuss it with the doctor. Termination of pregnancy may be advisable. In some cases chemotherapy is given during the later stages of pregnancy while in others, it is postponed until after the birth of the child.
Some chemotherapy drugs may reduce the sperm count while other drugs affect sperm motility. This will affect an individual's ability to father a child, temporarily or permanently. This will however have no effect on the individual's ability to enjoy sex. If an individual is yet to father a child, his sperms may be cryopreserved or frozen in a laboratory for later use.
Testicular tumours affect men in the prime of their youth. Counselling before starting treatment should include discussion about sperm preservation.
Chemotherapy - References:
- MacDiarmid J.A. et al. (2007)
- "Bacterially Derived 400 nm Particles for Encapsulation and Cancer Cell Targeting of Chemotherapeutics" Cancer Cell 11, 431-445, May 2007