Some types of chemo can cause infertility. The risk of infertility depends on the type of chemotherapy, age and other existing health problems. Infertility can be a lifetime side effect.

For women, this means pregnancy may not be possible because chemo may damage the ovaries, which can lower the number of healthy eggs. It can also decrease the hormones produced by the ovaries, resulting in early menopause. Both conditions can cause infertility.

In men, chemo may damage sperm cells. It can also lower the number of sperm and/or make sperm less mobile. These conditions can cause infertility.

Before starting treatment, talk with the doctor or nurse about having children. There are ways to preserve eggs and sperm for use after treatment. Even if the doctor told you chemotherapy or radiation will alter your ability to get pregnant, take precautions to avoid getting pregnant or getting your partner pregnant. Chemotherapy can cause birth defects, so waiting until after treatment is complete to start a family is highly recommended.