Fertility and Reproductive Needs
Learn about Christina Montana's decision to preserve her eggs when her cancer flared out of remission.
More than ever, cancer patients are surviving their disease and can look forward to the future. Reproductive health issues — including the ability to have children, the need for birth control, retaining sexual function, and the possibility of early menopause — are all important to young cancer survivors.
To help young survivors address reproductive health concerns, the Oncofertility Program at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center has a team of providers from reproductive endocrinology, gynecology, oncology, genetics and psychology.
Fertility Preservation Program
For patients facing fertility-threatening therapy, the Fertility Preservation Program at UC San Diego Regional Fertility Center offers fertility preservation consultations, embryo banking, egg banking, ovarian tissue banking, referral for sperm banking, ovarian shielding and fertility sparing surgeries such as ovarian transposition. In most cases, decisions on fertility preservation are best made before treatment begins. We understand the urgency of these decisions and are available to see patients on short notice. We partner with the Fertile Hope Program, which provides information and financial assistance.
Video: Helping Young Cancer Survivors Consider Future Fertility
Many young people with cancer are never informed about their options for ensuring the best chance to have children in the future. In this video, Moores Cancer Center's Dr. Irene Su talks about some of the ways to address reproductive health concerns before cancer treatment begins. (1 min: 36 seconds)
Fertility After Cancer Therapy
It does not appear that pregnancy after cancer increases the risk of cancer recurrence, and children born to cancer survivors do not appear to have a higher risk of birth defects. Researchers are actively working on more data, but the information available is reassuring. For cancer survivors, we also offer:
- Consultations with reproductive endocrinologists for survivors who desire children.
- Ovarian reserve testing, when appropriate.
- Fertility assistance for infertility issues related to cancer therapy.
- Counseling for survivors who have received cancer therapy that impairs fertility potential.
For more information, contact our nurse coordinator at 858-822-2660.
Women's Health in Cancer Survivors
Female cancer survivors often have concerns about irregular or loss of menstrual periods, safe methods for preventing pregnancy, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, and sexual health. Our physicians, Irene H. Su, MD, and Kathryn Macaulay, MD, specialize in evaluating, counseling, and treating women facing these issues. Our consultations are performed at Perlman Medical Offices.
To make an appointment, call 858-657-8745. If you need to be seen on short notice, please tell the physician referral representative.
Reproductive Health Research Studies
Much remains unknown about reproductive health in female cancer survivors. Moores Cancer Center is actively engaged in research to address and improve issues of reproductive health in cancer survivors.
For details and contact information on all research studies, see our reproductive health research studies.
Books on parenthood during and after cancer:
- Can I Still Kiss You? Answering Your Children’s Questions About Cancer
by Neil Russell
- Cancer In the Family: Helping Children Cope With a Parent’s Illness
by Sue P. Heiney, Joan F. Hermann, Katherine V. Bruss, and Joy L. Fincannon
- Everything Changes: An Insider’s Guide to Cancer in our 20’s and 30’s
by Kairol Rosenthal
- Having Children After Cancer: How to Make Informed Choices Before and After Treatment and Build the Family of Your Dreams
by Gina M. Shaw
- Our Family Has Cancer, Too!
by Christine Clifford
- Our Mom Has Cancer
by Adrienne Ackermann and Abigail Ackermann
- The Year My Mother Was Bald
by Ann Speltz
- When A Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children
by Wendy S. Harpham