Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. Affecting women in 99% of cases, it can have a negative impact on their chances of becoming a mother. In this context, assisted reproductive treatments become the best solution to achieve pregnancy.
In recent years, there’s been an increase in the number of women under the age of forty-five with breast cancer, preventing them from becoming mothers while suffering from the disease and undergoing treatment. Also the waiting period recommended by doctors must be taken into account. As a result, more and more women are turning to assisted reproduction treatments to fulfil their desire to get pregnant.
CAN I GET PREGNANT AFTER HAVING BREAST CANCER?
There are certain breast cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, that can negatively affect a woman’s fertility, because they’re toxic to the ovaries. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to become a mother once the disease has been overcome.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy, in addition to the need to wait several years after treatment to get pregnant, are factors that can cause a significant reduction in ovarian reserve. For this reason, many women choose to freeze their eggs to preserve their fertility, and have the future option of undergoing an assisted reproduction treatment to get pregnant. The quality of the eggs remains the same as when they were first frozen.
Once the cancer treatment is completed, you can try to conceive naturally, but it’s advisable to see a fertility specialist if, after 3 or 4 months trying to conceive, you haven’t been successful. If it turns out that your ovarian reserve is low, it may be recommendable to start IVF treatment with your frozen eggs.
WHAT ARE THE PROBABILITIES OF GETTING PREGNANT AFTER HAVING BREAST CANCER?
When it comes to assisted reproduction treatments, women who have survived breast cancer have the same chances of getting pregnant as women who have not had the disease. There are no major differences in the number of eggs retrieved, the number of stimulation cycles, the fertilisation rate, or the conception rate. Therefore, women who’ve had breast cancer usually respond well to this type of treatments.
AFTER CANCER TREATMENT, HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO GET PREGNANT?
Doctors recommend waiting at least 2 years after completing cancer treatment before trying to get pregnant. This is because the possibility of the cancer coming back can lessen over time.
However, in the case of hormone-sensitive tumours, it’s advisable to wait between 5 and 10 years. It is often recommended that that these women interrupt their hormone therapy after 2 years to get pregnant, and resume it after the baby is born.
In any case, it’s important to remember that each woman and each case is unique, so it’s important to consult a specialist to assess factors such as age, type of breast cancer, and the risk of the disease returning. It’s essential to follow the oncologist’s advice when deciding whether to try to get pregnant after breast cancer.
IS THERE A CHANCE THAT MY CANCER WILL COME BACK IF I GET PREGNANT?
Some breast cancers are more sensitive to oestrogen. For this reason, some women may be concerned that the high levels of hormones produced during pregnancy could cause the cancer to return. However, it’s been shown that pregnancy does not necessarily cause the disease to return, if the treatment was successful.
The same is true for breastfeeding. In fact, studies have shown that there’s a link between breastfeeding and a lower risk of the cancer recurring.