Ann, 33, became pregnant with her first child just after overcoming breast cancer diagnosed when she was only 28 years old. At this time she did not plan being a mother, but she preferred to preserve her child. Today she is a happy mother who found enough strength to get pregnant after overcoming breast cancer treated with chemotherapy.

In the United Kingdom 50,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year. Many of these women are mothers, but others still hope to get pregnant after overcoming the disease.

A few years ago, women suffering from breast cancer practically ruled out the idea of ​​pregnancy. Breast cancer does not affect fertility, but the treatments to overcome it, do. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery, are usually very aggressive and can affect fertility. Only in 20% -30% of breast cancer cases, normal ovulatory production is recovered. The truth is that this number, although low, has improved quite a lot thanks to improvements in the increasingly less invasive and more effective treatments.

Treatments to preserve fertility

Fortunately, advances in assisted reproduction offer solutions to women who wish to become pregnant after overcoming breast cancer. More and more women are using those treatments to preserve fertility and seek motherhood after overcoming the disease. There are several techniques used in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • The cryopreservation of embryos, where the obtained eggs from the patient are vitrified after being fertilized in the laboratory with sperm from the partner or from an anonymous donor. These embryos remain cryopreserved until use, when they are thawed and transferred to the uterus of the mother.
  • The oocyte cryopreservation, where the obtained eggs are directly vitrified and cryopreserved until use. That is when after being thawed and fertilized they will be transferred to the uterus of the mother.
  • The cryopreservation of ovarian cortex helps to preserve ovarian hormonal function, laparoscopic surgery removing the cortex from an ovary. The extracted ovarian cortex will be vitrified for use in the future, reimplanting it in the same place where it was obtained.

Pregnancy during treatment against breast cancer

Although pregnancy and breast cancer are not incompatible, radiotherapy should be avoided due to risk of fetal harm, and chemotherapy can alter the fetus development. These treatments are especially dangerous in the early stages of pregnancy. In any case, each situation must be addressed in particular, where the medical advice will be based on what is best for the patient and the baby.

After overcoming breast cancer and cancer treatment completion, it is recommended to wait between 2 and 5 years to get pregnant. This reduces the risk of recurrence that may compromise the health of the mother and the baby.