Radiation Therapy and Fertility ~ Health Guide

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Radiation Therapy and Fertility

Written by Mystic on Monday, August 04, 2008

Most radiation therapy treatment has no effect on your ability to enjoy sex or to have children. Many healthy babies have been born to parents who have had radiation therapy. The scientific evidence suggests that the risk of having an abnormal baby is not increased if you have had treatment in the past.

However, radiation therapy to the ovaries and the testes can lead to temporary sterility or a permanent inability to have children.

Before undergoing radiation therapy, you will meet your Radiation Oncologist, who will discuss this possibility. Understandably, this can be a traumatic time, particularly if you were planning to have children.

If you have a partner, they will be encouraged to join in this meeting, giving both of you a chance to express any fears or worries and talk them through.

Sometimes, it is possible for men to store sperm before undergoing radiation therapy. The sperm can be frozen and stored for several years until a couple are ready to have children. This is known as sperm banking.

Even when sterility is likely to occur due to treatment, you are strongly advised to use a form of birth control. You should not plan to become pregnant during radiation therapy treatment.

For referral and further counselling or support, talk to the doctor, nurse or contact the Cancer Help Line.

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