Fertility Preservation

A new born baby

This Navigator topic is your stepping stone to finding quality, current online information on cancer treatment and fertility preservation from a range of reputable sources. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather to provide a starting point to information seeking.

It is aimed at women recently diagnosed with breast cancer who are still of reproductive age and are thinking of starting a family, or who may want to have children in the future. Having access to quality information to help you make informed decisions is vital.

Please note: Information resources provided in the Navigator do not imply promotion or endorsement of particular third-party services. Please speak with your own treating team for medical information and referral to services.

Last Updated: 14 November, 2023 2:45 pm

Below is a list of fertility-related questions you may want to consider when seeking information about fertility preservation. These questions may help you decide about the treatment of your breast cancer. You might want the answers to some of the questions straight away, while some may become important later on. You may want to ask these questions of your surgeon, oncologist, breast care nurse or other member of your health care team. You can ask the questions as they appear here, or use them as a guide to put together your own questions.

  • Am I going to be able to fall pregnant after treatment?
  • Can you refer me to a reproductive specialist to discuss my options?
  • How would each treatment option affect my fertility?
  • Is there any medication I can take that might reduce the effects of chemotherapy on my ovaries?
  • What side effects might that medication have?
  • For how long will I have to wait after treatment before I can check whether I am still fertile?
  • What are the statistics about my chances of becoming pregnant?
  • Would a future pregnancy influence my prognosis (chances of cancer coming back)?
  • How can I conserve my fertility?
  • Do I have time to delay cancer treatment to undergo fertility treatment?
  • Are fertility drugs safe for me?
  • How would fertility treatment impact on the future course of my cancer?
  • How much does each type of fertility treatment option cost?
  • What will happen to any embryos/eggs that aren’t used?
  • What do I need to know if I want to consider not using my own eggs?
  • What are the risks and benefits of having a child after breast cancer?
  • What has happened to other breast cancer survivors who have decided to have children?
  • Are there any health concerns for children I might have in the future as a result of my treatment?
  • Assuming I can still have children, how long after treatment should I wait?
  • Are there any clinical trials that I may be eligible to take part in?
  • What should I be doing about contraception?

From Fertility-related choices : a decision aid for younger women diagnosed with breast cancer / Peate, M.; Butow, P.; Fallon Ferguson, J.; et al. — Sydney: Prince of Wales Hospital. Psychosocial Research Group, 8 March 2010. (Monograph) : 70 pages. , 29125

and from “What to ask, when – questions for younger women with breast cancer, Western Breast Service Alliance, 2004

This list provides links to the websites of organisations with a particular focus on fertility preservation. The link will direct you to the home page where you can search their site independently.

Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA)

A statutory authority funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. VARTA provides independent information and support for individuals, couples and health professionals on fertility and issues related to assisted reproductive treatment. This includes IVF, surrogacy and donor-conception.

ONTrac at Peter Mac (AUS)

ONTrac at Peter Mac is a cancer service for adolescents and young adults. The service provides a range of clinical services, including fertility counselling prior to cancer treatment.

This list has links to key pieces of evidence-based information directly related to fertility preservation, and includes downloadable fact sheets, pamphlets, PDF documents and web pages. Information resources provided below do not imply promotion or endorsement of particular third-party services. Please speak with your own treating team for medical information and referral to appropriate services.

Breast Cancer Network Australia - 'Fertility Preservation' 2023 (AUS)

This page includes a 2020 video, Fertility Preservation, and links to many other resources. Includes personal stories of women making fertility decisions before going through treatment.

Counterpart - 'Fertility Preservation' 2019 webinar (AUS)

Learn about the important issues in considering fertility preservation before cancer treatment, methods available and factors that impact on the available choices. Hosted by Fiona McRae and presented by Genia Rozen, Consultant Gynaecologist specialising in fertility, reproductive endocrinology and fertility preservation. This webinar was recorded in at Women's Health Victoria on 17 June 2019.

Breast Cancer Now - 'Fertility, Pregnancy and Breast Cancer' 2019 booklet (UK)

A booklet about fertility issues and breast cancer treatment. It discusses how treatment may affect your fertility, ways of preserving fertility and well as pregnancy after treatment. The booklet can be downloaded and printed or read online. As this is UK-based, some terminology and treatments may differ in Australia.

Cancer Council Victoria - 'Fertility' 2022 (AUS)

This web page explains how cancer treatment can affect fertility and options for treatment and decision making. Scroll down to download the booklet 'Fertility and cancer'.

The Women's - 'Cancer Treatment and Fertility' 2019 (AUS)

Explains how cancer treatment may affect fertility and what can be done to preserve fertility.

Melbourne IVF - 'Fertility Preservation' (AUS)

Links to information on fertility preservation and treatment options. This is not an endorsement of Melbourne IVF. Please speak with your own treating team for medical information and referral to appropriate services.

Melbourne IVF - Medical Female Fertility Preservation (AUS)

This web page from Melbourne IVF discusses the ways cancer treatment can affect fertility, and the range of options available for preservin fertility.

Save My Fertility - Fertility Preservation for Women Diagnosed with Cancer (US)

This 'pocket guide' for women diagnosed with cancer explains options, timelines and what you might ask your treating team. Remember that it is US-focused, so terminology and treatment options may be different in Australia.

This is a list of hard copy resources such as books and DVDs that are not readily available online.

Young Women Talking

A multimedia booklet and DVD which explores the issues affecting young women with breast cancer, as told by a group of young women, in their own words. The DVD and booklet are available for women living in Victoria and can be sent out by contacting the Counterpart Resource Centre. You can also download the booklet and watch the DVD online.

BreaCan, Melbourne, 2006

View Details Online

This list directs you to websites containing personal stories both written and in video format, and includes blogs and online forums. The information contained in these links reflects the personal experiences of individuals and does not necessarily constitute evidence-based research or information.

Breast Cancer Network Australia - Fertility and Breast Cancer: Knowing your Options 2021 (AUS)

Fertility information for pre-menopausal women diagnosed with early breast cancer. Includes a personal story and discussion from a breast cancer specialist and family therapist. Register to view the recording and you will be emailed a link.

Breast Cancer Network Australia - Fertility Preservation 2020 (AUS)

Fertility specialist Kate Stern provides information and advice to help you make decisions about your fertility. The video includes the stories of Mallory, Kate, Shari and Jane who were all diagnosed with breast cancer as young women.

Cancer Council NSW - Monica's Story (AUS)

Monica, a woman who was diagnosed with oestrogen-receptive breast cancer at 29, tells her story.

Pass Me Another Cupcake (CA)

Blog of young Canadian woman, Stephanie Gilman, who in 2012 was diagnosed with breast cancer at 28. She discusses her hopes of having children and the decisions involved. In November 2016 she gave birth to a baby boy – and another in June 2019. (Not currently being updated but her fertility story is still online.)

Fertile Future (CA)

A Canadian organisation that provides fertility preservation information. The website contains personal stories of people's experiences with breast and other cancer treatment, and fertility preservation.

Aussie Breast Cancer Forum - Sexuality and Fertility (AUS)

Australian online breast cancer forum that features posts about fertility issues. (Note: the Forum was archived in August 2020, but is still published and searchable.)

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