Dr. Schmidt describes how cancer drugs can contribute to infertility.
Cancer drugs work by the mechanism of stopping cell division because cancer is cell division out of control and there are many different steps during cell division that they can affect, and sometimes medical oncologists will use multiple chemotherapeutic drugs that they will surgeonistically to help decrease cancer in its entirety.
Having a baby, getting pregnant, requires cell division and so, if you are taking a drug that stops cell division and you are trying to get pregnant which is a cell division, the chances of getting pregnant during that time are nearly impossible and not recommended. It is recommended that someone go through the therapy that they need and then try to become pregnant.
Depending on specifically ovarian cancer, which is pretty common for a woman, they will test estrogen receptors. If she is negative for estrogen receptors she may have a better chance of getting pregnant than if she is positive because of the medications that we give them to enable them to get pregnant. So, talking with the reproductive endocrinologist when you get a diagnosis of cancer to work in concert with your oncologist – your surgical oncologist and your medical oncologist, the three as a team, will maximize your chances of both cure of your cancer and your future chances of fertility as a mom.
About Dr. Schmidt, M.D.:
Dr. Lila Schmidt, M.D., is a reproductive endocrinology infertility doctor at Alvarado Hospital. She completed an OB/GYN residency and then received further training in reproductive endocrinology, focusing on PMS, menopause, and infertility.