Researchers from the University of California’s San Francisco School of Medicine conducted a survey of 1,000 women cancer survivors who were under the age of 40 – because women under 40 are generally in the reproductive age, while after a woman turns 40 her chances of reproductively naturally decline.
The study found that 50 percent of the women surveyed could not recall being given reproductive counseling. Even more shocking was that 88 percent had not been given information of any kind regarding the options for preserving fertility after cancer treatment.
Unbeknownst to many women, there are quite a few options offered for having a genetically related child after radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Women can freeze their eggs, embryos, or ovaries prior to the treatment, and then can later implant them in either their body of a surrogate carrier’s body. However, if women do not plan ahead, they can still have children, but though other assisted reproduction options such as adopting embryos or egg donations.
The age of the woman, the type and stage of her cancer, and the type of treatment used, all can affect the potential risk of infertility. Although the risks vary, any woman diagnosed with cancer should be informed of the risks and options before it is too late.