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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Fertility After Cancer

According to information from the National Cancer Institute, some cancer treatments may cause temporary or permanent infertility. These side effects depend on many factors, including your sex; your age at time of treatment; the specific treatment type(s) and dose you receive; the use of a single therapy or many therapies; and the length of time since treatment. Your treatment team can recommend a counselor or fertility specialist who can discuss available options and help you through the decision-making process.

Internet Resources

American Cancer Society: Fertility Options
http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/PhysicalSideEffects/FertilityandCancerWhatAreMyOptions/index of the most well known cancer organizations in the United States, the American Cancer Society has many resources available for patients, families, and caregivers.

Cancer.net : Sexuality and Reproductive Health
Designed especially for cancer patients by the cancer professionals of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, this site is dedicated to providing accurate, reliable, current information about cancer.

Oncofertility Consortium
The Oncofertility Consortium is a national, interdisciplinary initiative for research, support and treatment to preserve fertility in cancer patients founded at Northwestern University. Reproductive specialists and patient navigators work with physicians from clinical centers such as the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center to help patients explore the issues surrounding fertility preservation. Download a free iSaveFertility app here. (http://oncofertility.northwestern.edu/events/savemyfertility) Obtain Patient Fact Sheets in both English and Spanish here. (http://savemyfertility.org/)


  • Oncofertility: ethical, legal, social, and medical perspectives. Woodruff T, ed. 2010.
  • 100 Questions and Answers about Cancer and Fertility. Oktay KH. 2008.
  • Oncofertility: Fertility Preservation for Cancer Survivors. Woodruff T. 2007.
  • Fertility Issues: Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer. Longe J, ed. 2010. Available in print at the Health Learning Center or electronically at http://www.nmh.org/nm/health+library+virtual+library

Journal Articles

  • “Fertility preservation.” Jensen JR et al. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 86(1):45–9. January 2011.
  • “The Oncofertility Consortium: addressing fertility in young people with cancer.” Woodruff TK. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. 7(8):466–475. August 2010.
  • “Insuring against fertility: expanding state infertility mandates to include fertility preservation technology for cancer patients.” Basco D et al. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. 38(4):832–839. 2010.
  • “Fertility in patients treated for testicular cancer.” Journal of Cancer Survivorship. 4(3):274–278. September 2010.
  • “Fertility and sexuality in young cancer survivors who have adult-onset malignancies.” Hematology-Oncology Clinics of North America. 22(2):291–303, vii. April 2008.


  • Cancer Journey: Issues for Survivors.


Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Health Learning Center has joined forces with the American Cancer Society’s Patient Navigator Program to provide assistance to patients and families dealing with cancer. To take advantage of this unique service, provided by a licensed clinical social worker, call 312-926-4282.

This organization strives to be a comprehensive fertility preservation resource for patients whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Alberto Culver Health Learning Center at 312-926-5465, or e-mail us at HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateOctober 29, 2012