Dr. Schmidt introduces herself and shares how chemotherapy affects fertility.
Hi, I am Dr. Lila Schmidt. I am a reproductive endocrinology infertility doc, which means I have done the OB/GYN residency and then did further training in what’s called reproductive endocrine, which is a big word that stands for PMS, menopause, and infertility and that’s what we are known for primarily is the infertility because that’s what in the media.
You know, when a woman is undergoing chemotherapy her ability to become pregnant is not an issue. It can be counterproductive to be under chemotherapy and get pregnant, if not impossible. However, having had chemotherapy and a cancer diagnosis does not mean you cannot have children in the future.
Cancer is treated in a couple of ways – surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation – those are the three modes. So, of course if someone does have cancer, you need to take care of the cancer before you attempt the pregnancy. And depending on what kind of therapy they had to have for the cancer it may affect their ovaries minimally to maximum.
If a woman, you know, has had radiation to her pelvis and her ovaries were exposed in the field then her ovarian function is probably zero so she would be like a menopausal woman. She will need egg donors, or an egg donor to get her pregnant. However, before surgery you can sometimes move the ovaries up out of the way, out of the field of the radiation to help maximize their functionality later, but that’s one mode of treatment.
Another mode is surgical. If someone has cancer, it’s tumor, it’s a mass, and it doesn’t affect the genitals, uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes then hopefully fertility is not an issue later. Chemotherapy however, once you take chemotherapy whether by pill or by IV infusion goes all over your body and that can have an affect on your future fertility. So it depends on what chemotherapeutic drugs you have, and how long of a therapy you have, and what age you are when you receive the therapy.
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.