Breast cancer and fertility

​Adjuvant chemotherapy treatments may reduce fertility by causing menopause to occur an average of about five years early. If a breast cancer patient hopes to have children in the future, she should ask for a fertility consultation promptly so that the first steps for any procedures can be taken. She should do so before chemotherapy treatments are initiated, preferably already at the Breast Surgery Unit and prior to breast surgery, if possible.

A breast-cancer nurse at the Breast Surgery Unit can make arrangements for a fertility consultation.

Our current understanding is that hormonal treatments for breast cancer do not, in themselves, cause a long-term decrease in fertility. However, pregnancy must be avoided during hormone therapy because the treatments can cause fetal malformations. Hormone therapy usually lasts for years, so it may decrease the chance of becoming pregnant in the future by delaying the opportunity. It is a good idea to discuss any hopes for future pregnancy with the treating physician. In some cases, hormone therapy may be interrupted to accommodate a planned pregnancy. Pregnancy must not be attempted for at least 3 months after hormone therapy ends.

Infertility treatments at the Women’s Hospital