If your healthcare team did not speak to you about fertility preservation, or if you did not take steps to preserve your fertility before breast cancer breast cancer treatment, you may still be able to conceive a child naturally. There are also other meaningful options for having children after breast cancer, like adopting a child or using a surrogate.
Your age, the condition of your eggs and other reproductive and treatment-related factors combine to affect your fertility after breast cancer.
A visit to a reproductive endocrinologist can provide information on your fertility options, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), where your eggs are retrieved, fertilized outside your body and later transferred back to your uterus where a fetus can develop.
If your doctor determines that you are infertile, there are several other options for motherhood, including:
If your eggs have been damaged and are not viable to conceive a child, you may be able to use eggs donated by another woman. These eggs would be fertilized outside your body and transferred to your uterus, as with the IVF process.
If you are physically unable to carry a child full-term, or it would pose too great a health risk, you may be able to have another woman carry and deliver a child for you. This woman could be a friend, family member or a stranger you compensate.
The woman is called a surrogate if sperm is injected into her (artificial insemination), and she is called a gestational carrier if an embryo is implanted.
Adoption is the legal transfer of parental rights over a child from the birth parent to another. While it is possible for cancer survivors to adopt, there may be additional requirements such as providing your medical records or waiting a certain period of time after your cancer diagnosis before being allowed to adopt.
Laws on frozen eggs and embryos, donated eggs, surrogacy and adoption vary from state to state. Be sure to consult your doctor to determine what fertility options will be safest for you or a family attorney to discuss adoption options.
Having children after breast cancer is not impossible! Find family planning and adoption resources in our ResourceLink database.