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: 10 June, 2021 3:49 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. Many of the links are to US based organisations as there are only a few Australian organisations or websites entirely dedicated to fertility preservation and cancer treatment.

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.

My Oncofertility (US)

An educational website produced by the Oncofertility Consortium in the USA. It includes information on how cancer treatment effects fertility, and preservation before, during and after cancer treatment. It features links to videos of specialists or service users discussing relevant issues.

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.

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 Network Australia - 'Fertility-Related Choices' 2017 (AUS)

A decision-aid booklet for young women diagnosed with breast cancer. You can download a copy or obtain a hard copy through the BCNA website. It provides information in an Australian context including differences between fertility clinics and the different laws in each state.

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

A booklet produced by the UK-based Breast Cancer Now (formerly Breast Cancer Care) 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.

Cancer Council Victoria - 'Fertility' 2018 (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.

CanTeen - Cancer Treatment and Female Fertility (AUS)

Information for young women on how particular cancer treatments can affect their fertility. Links to information on fertility preservation prior to treatment and fertility after treatment.

CanTeen - 'Maybe Later Baby' 2015 (AUS)

A booklet produced by Canteen on fertility issues for young people with cancer. Scroll down the page to click on the link to download the booklet, or you can order a hard copy version.

Melbourne IVF - 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.

Oncofertility Consortium & Hormone Foundation - Save My Fertility

Toolkit that aims to increase awareness of fertility preservation options for cancer patients, and to educate patients about the effects of cancer treatment on hormonal health. Links to their app, iSF (iSave Fertility Support) available from the iTunes store.

My Oncofertility - Female Reproductive Options, 2007 (US)

A chart on the website of US-based organisation My Oncofertility, that has a summary of women's fertility options available prior to and after cancer treatment. While the chart is based on American information, it offers a useful overview of procedures relevant to Australian context.

This is a list of hard copy resources such as books and CDs that are not readily available online. They may be available for loan through Counterpart’s Resource Centre or may be sourced independently online or through book stores. You can access the Counterpart library online or call the Resource Centre directly on 1300 781 500.

100 Questions & Answers About Cancer and Fertility (US) (Book)

Kutluk Oktay is a fertility specialist who has been a leader in developing the field of fertility preservation. Lindsay Nohr Beck is the Founder and Director of Fertile Hope and Joyce Dillon Reinecke has experienced cancer treatment and the subsequent journey to preserve her fertility. Their book published in 2007 written from both a doctor’s and patient’s view, provides practical answers to common questions asked by cancer patients about fertility.

Oktay KH et al, Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2007

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Having Children After Cancer: How to Make Informed Choices Before and After Treatment and Build the Family of Your Dreams (US) (Book)

Gina M. Shaw is a health and medical writer who has experienced breast cancer. Her 2011 book provides a guide to fertility after cancer treatment. She examines how cancer treatments affect fertility, preservation of fertility and embryo and egg donation and surrogacy. The book also contains a detailed section on adoption however her examination of international adoption arrangements specifically focusses on that between other countries and the US.

Shaw, Gina M, Celestial Arts, 2011

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Fertility and Breast Cancer : What Does it all Mean?(AUS) (CD)

Dr Kate Stern, fertility specialist and gynaecologist, speaks on a number of fertility related issues including the effects of oestrogen and early menopause. This CD recording of Kate’s presentation at BreaCan in 2005 is available for free to borrow from the BreaCan library and can be downloaded from the BreaCan website as a podcast.

Stern, Kate. BreaCan What’s On Information Session, 2005

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Young Women Talking DVD & Booklet (AUS) (DVD)

This DVD was produced by BreaCan in 2008. It is a collection of young women’s reflections on their own experiences and provides insight into how they have learnt to live with breast cancer. The accompanying booklet contains information on treatment and its long-term effects, body image, relationships, personal feelings and the future.

BreaCan, Melbourne, Women’s Health Victoria, 2008

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Breast Friends (VIC)

Local Melbourne support group that meets on the first Wednesday of each month from 7.30pm. Contact the Breast Care Nurse at Epworth Freemasons on 030 9483 3711

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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.

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.

My Oncofertility (US)

A US based website which contains videos of people talking about their cancer experiences, including fertility issues.

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.

Know a personal story we could share? Give feedback below.