How Breast Cancer Affects Fertility?


When you have breast cancer, you usually have some treatments. And because you are a woman, you may wonder if these treatments can affect your ability to get pregnant? Check the article for more information.

Fertility in women

First of all, the article will help you understand about fertility in women. Then you can know how breast cancer can affect it.

You have a number of eggs since you were born. And you cannot produce more eggs in your life. Since you come into puberty, your body starts to release an egg a month (can be more). Over time, the number and the quality of the eggs can decrease, especially when you are old.

When the egg is fertilized by a sperm, and implant in the womb, you get pregnant. If the egg is not fertilized by a sperm, you have a period. Your body stop releasing eggs when you come into menopause.

Chemotherapy affects fertility

Chemotherapy can affect your fertility when you have not come into menopause. It affects your ovaries and egg’s quality.

Your fertility after chemotherapy depends on the types of medicines, doses, and your age. You may stop having periods when the treatment start, then start having them months or years after the treatment. If your periods return, it does not mean your fertility is normal and you can get pregnant.


You are more likely to get pregnant after chemotherapy if you are treated for cancer before 30. If you are 40 or older, you are more likely to come into menopause after chemotherapy. If you are close to menopause, you cannot get pregnant after chemotherapy.

Types and doses of medicines

Some certain types of drugs can make it hard for you to be in pregnancy, such as:

  • Cytoxan;
  • Platinol;
  • Adriamycin;
  • Methotrexate;
  • Fluorouracil;
  • Vincristine;
  • Taxol;
  • Taxotere;
  • Abraxane.

However, the research on this issue is limited so it is hard to create an ideal treatment plan for you. Thus, it is better to discuss with your doctor.

Radiotherapy affects fertility

Radiotherapy is seemed to have no effect on your fertility. However, if you have radiotherapy, you should prepare for your fertility before you get breast cancer treatment. The doctor will collect your eggs, fertilize them with sperms. Then you can use them after your treatment.

Ovarian shutdown affects fertility

Ovarian shutdown can be done with medicines or surgery. This treatment is done to help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who have an extremely high risk or to treat certain types of breast cancer. The ovaries will be removed (with surgery) or stop releasing estrogen (with medicines). If your ovarian shutdown is done with surgery, you cannot get pregnant after your treatment. If your ovarian shutdown is done with medicines, your fertility can come back after you stop taking the drugs.

Hormonal therapy affects fertility

Some types of medicines are used to treat breast cancer, including tamoxifen, Evista (chemical name: raloxifene), Fareston (chemical name: toremifene). These medicines can cause the irregular menstrual cycle, or make your ovaries stop releasing eggs. Some women can have a normal menstrual cycle and get pregnant after hormonal therapy, but some cannot.

Treatment for breast cancer can affect your fertility. Thus, it is important to discuss with your doctor about preserving fertility treatment option if you want to be in pregnancy after that.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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