While most medical treatments have little to no effect on reproductive health, some cancer treatments can damage the testes or ovaries. Surgery for gynecologic cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy focused on the abdomen may result in temporary or permanent infertility as well as early menopause. Your risk depends on the diagnosis, the type of treatment, and the dose of medicine. Your oncologist can tell you if there’s a chance that treatment might affect your reproductive system. If you need to start cancer treatment immediately, we can see you within 48 hours of receiving a referral.
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can affect your ability to have a child because of the impact on eggs and sperm. If you plan to have a family, fertility preservation can save your healthy eggs or sperm before treatment. Retrieving and storing some of your eggs or sperm is safe and won’t compromise their quality -- or the success of your cancer treatments. Our fertility experts will coordinate your care with your oncologists for the best family planning outcomes.
How Cancer Treatment Impacts Fertility
Duke Health offers fertility preservation services at Duke Health Center Arringdon in Morrisville.
Onco-Fertility Tests for Egg Retrieval
Everything we do is part of collaborative care with your oncologist. Our fertility providers will consider your age, sex, medical history, and type of treatment to best understand your level of infertility risk.
Anti-Müllerian Hormone Test
Drawing blood to check hormone levels helps us assess your ovarian reserve -- how many potential fertile egg cells you have. The results of this test can determine what kind of medications you may need ahead of egg retrieval and how many eggs we may be able to extract during a retrieval.
A fertility specialist evaluates images of your ovaries to determine the quantity and health of your eggs and how to best retrieve them.
Our teams of cancer-specific health professionals work together to coordinate your care. See the range of cancers we treat and the procedures and screenings we perform.
Learn about all of the cancer support services we offer to you and your loved ones.
Why Choose Duke
If your cancer team identifies the need for an onco-fertility consultation, our patient navigator will connect you with experts on our team including providers and nurses trained in fertility services, financial counselors, and therapists. We will be in contact with you throughout your time at the Duke Fertility Center and coordinate your care with your cancer team.
Helping You Navigate Financial Options
Total costs for cryopreservation are different for everyone, and most insurance policies do not cover fertility preservation. However, there are financial assistance programs available to help with costs. Once your oncologist refers you to the Duke Fertility Center, a patient navigator will contact you. They’ll walk you through your options for financial assistance and can help you complete the necessary paperwork.
Peer and Professional Support
The Duke Cancer Patient Support Program holds a virtual Fertility Support Group monthly on Zoom. They also offer professionally facilitated sessions for people facing fertility concerns due to cancer.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.