Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I was treated for cancer when I was 9 years old and I am 26 now. I am curious about my fertility- can I have a baby? I’m not at that point in a relationship, but I want to know before getting to that point.
Clarisa Gracia, MD, Oncofertility specialist at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:
The extent to which cancer treatments affect an individual’s fertility depends on a variety of factors. It would be important to know your sex and treatments that you received. Alkylating agents tend to be more damaging than other types of chemotherapy. However, many cancer survivors are able to have children without medical assistance. There are hormonal tests that can help to determine the extent of damage in women. In men, a semen analysis is the best way to determine future fertility potential. You should consult with your physician to determine your risk and which tests may be helpful in your case. In addition, if you live in the Philadelphia area and are a female childhood cancer survivors you may wish to participate in a study of fertility potential after cancer to determine your risk (you may call 215-662-2963 to ask about the study).
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series, Issues Facing Young Adults After Cancer. View the entire transcript.