Successful pregnancy after ovarian cancer

Christina S. Chu, MD
Last Modified: July 14, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
My friend had ovarian cancer when she was 16, had one tube and one ovary removed. She's 22 now and is trying for a baby, however she is concerned that her chances may be very low or non-existent. Could you tell me realistically what her chances are of becoming pregnant? Thank you for your time.  


Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

Without specifics regarding the type of tumor your friend suffered, exactly what was done and found at the time of surgery, and what kind of treatment she had after her diagnosis of "ovarian cancer" it is difficult to tell what her chances of successful pregnancy are. In general, patients who have one tube and ovary removed for reasons other than cancer (ectopic pregnancy, benign tumors, etc) have the same chance of getting pregnant as they had before their surgery, if the other tube and ovary appeared normal at the time of surgery. Many factors other than prior surgery may affect a woman's fertility such as regularity of menstrual cycles, endometriosis, prior pelvic or appendiceal infections. In your friend's case, additional factors such as the type of tumor, if she received chemotherapy after diagnosis, how the tube and ovary on the unaffected side looked at the time of surgery may all affect her chances of getting pregnant. I would advise her to talk to her gynecologist or the surgeon/oncologist who treated her for her initial tumor to discuss the particulars of her case to get more information.