Recent studies by Institut Marquès, fertility clinic from Spain, show that pregnancy after cancer treatment is safe. In these cases, the clinic achieves a pregnancy success rate of 82%.
Up until today, women who wished to have a baby after overcoming cancer were faced with uncertainties as to whether pregnancy could trigger cancer. Institut Marquès has shown that having a baby after cancer is safe. The results were the pregnancy success rate of 82% among patients who had undergone IVF treatment after using the services of Oncology and Reproductive Medicine Unit.
When can I start – pregnancy after cancer – when?
It is the most frequent question from women who need help to have a baby after overcoming their illness. Institut Marquès’s Oncology and Reproduction Unit studies each case to ensure patients’ safety so that cancer will not be reactivated during their pregnancy or as a consequence of it. To do so, this unit is composed of 20 doctors from different specialties: oncology, radiotherapy, surgery, gynecology, endocrinology, etc. All information is evaluated: diagnosis, treatment, and controls to determine when it is safe to start and which techniques are advised.
From the total number of women that ask for Institut Marquès’s advice, the beginning of treatment is approved in 91% of the cases and the pregnancy rate is very high: 82% of the patients have a baby.
Currently, 89% of the patients whose cases were researched by Institut Marquès were diagnosed as healthy enough to start their fertility treatment. 82% of these women fell pregnant after various reproductive treatments. 70% of women gave birth within 2 years from their first visit consultation at the Institute.
Why do I need help to become a mother? – fertility and pregnancy after cancer treatment – why do I need help?
Both cancer and its treatment can affect a woman’s fertility, but it is the delay of the maternity what, in the majority of the cases, causes the need to undergo an assisted reproduction treatment to have a child after cancer. Although fertility preservation is more and more frequent before cancer treatment, according to Institut Marquès’s study, only 1 in 10 women who began assisted reproductive cycle had their eggs frozen before their cancer treatment. Thus, IVF, embryo donation and, in most cases, egg donation, are the most common treatments among the patients of Institut Marquès’s specialised unit.
However, it is very important to remember that if you have overcome cancer it is possible for you to become a mother. More young women are diagnosed with cancer but there are more treatments that actually cure it. Current reports confirm that 85% of cancer patients under 50 beat this terrible disease.
In spite of advanced medicine, when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, it is often forgotten that, in the future, after treatment, that patient may want to become a mother. Then the focus needs to be shifted to the risk of cancer recurrence during pregnancy. These patients are faced with and have to win two battles: against cancer and, after being treated, the other against all the obstacles put up by doctors and their family who may insist on quitting on trying to become a mother as pregnancy may pose a risk.
Institut Marquès wants to send out a clear message to the medical community not to fall into default and say “No” to women with a history of cancer who wish to have a baby. The doctors’ experience at Institut Marquès shows that if patient’s assessment and medical examination is performed, and the patient is fit for pregnancy, the only risk that is there is simply the natural risk involved in any pregnancy.
And then? Pregnancy after breast cancer treatment and other diseases
The specialised unit in Reproductive Council of Institut Marquès has already treated women from all around the world. The initial consultation can be done in your home country. Did you know that you can visit Institut Marquès in Ireland? You can have your first consultation in Clane, Dublin or London. Then you can travel to Spain, or Italy to complete the Assisted Reproduction treatment at the clinic’s premises.
The cancer-survivor patients who come to the clinic are usually around the age of 40. The majority of them have been through breast cancer, others overcome the hematologic type of cancer (leukemia, lymphoma or ovarian cancer). On average, women take about 8 years, from the onset of cancer diagnosis, before that start actively seeking professional advice on how to become mothers. The great news is that 7 out of 10 women have become mothers in less than two years since their first consultation. All women are closely monitored by their oncologists at the Institute and, on average, after two more years, they remain healthy. There is definitely hope if you have had cancer treatment and you dream of becoming a mother.
About the author:
Dr. Marisa López-Teijón always wanted to be a doctor. She divides her time between Institut Marquès’s General Management, the consultation, and the Research and Development Project Team. The first thing she does every day when she arrives at the clinic is to check the pregnancy test results; positive results make her happy, but negative ones motivate her to do all in her power until all IVF cycles end in success.