Fertility Preservation

Preserving Fertility in Children With Cancer

According to www.cancer.net part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Some cancer treatments may affect how a girl’s ovaries or a boy’s testicles, or testes, work. This may last for a short time after completing cancer treatment. Or it may last a lifetime and cause infertility. Infertility is the inability to have biological children.

Infertility from cancer treatment is called a late effect. This is a side effect that affects your child years after treatment. Your child's risk of late effects depends on the type of cancer and the treatment given. Ask your child's doctor if planned treatments might have short- or long-term effects on reproductive health.

Cancer treatments that may affect fertility

The following types of cancer treatment may have long-term effects on your child’s fertility.

Chemotherapy. Alkylating agents affect fertility more commonly than other types of chemotherapy.

Examples of these drugs:

  • Cyclophosphamide (Neosar)
  • Ifosfamide (Ifex)
  • Procarbazine (Matulane)
  • Busulfan (Busulfex, Myleran)
  • Melphalan (Alkeran)

Other drugs may cause short-term effects on a girl's menstrual cycle. These include vincristine (Vincasar PFS) and methotrexate (multiple brand names). However, these drugs do not cause early menopause. Menopause is when menstrual periods stop.

In general, high doses of alkylating agents will cause permanent damage. But doctors typically use the lowest possible doses for children. This lowers the risk of permanent damage to reproductive organs. Doctors treat many pediatric cancers without alkylating agents. Ask your doctor about possible fertility risks with any anti-cancer drug prescribed for your child.


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