Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

A support group for anyone affected by acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) to come together, share experiences, and ask questions.

Fertility after treatment for ALL

donthaveaclue3
Posted by

I was diagnosed with ALL back in 2006 when I was 8. At the time I didn't realise what cancer was or the implications it can cause after the treatment. In my mind, when the drug trials were over and I had the thumbs up from my oncologist, I would be fine. Little did I know that the treatment causes problems with fertility along with health complications for life so heart scans are needed to check up on any damage that may have been done. But at the age that this all happened it did not cross my mind that it may cause problems in my future. At the age I am at now, nearly 20, I am not wanting children soon but I want to put my mind at ease so I know whether or not the chemotherapy affects the chances of conceiving. This has been a worry of mine for years now and I'm getting to an age now where I know I would want to be trying for a baby within the next few years. I have been looking around to book myself in for tests but this in itself is scary to me. After so many needles/scans etc. From the treatment, I hate going to the doctors about anything. 

I was wondering if anyone has any experiences in this area? Has anyone managed to conceive after having treatment for ALL? And if so was it natural or was there complications?

I am no longer in contact with my oncologist as I am past remission and my appointments got changed to yearly. As I was in a children's ward I was referred to a hospital further away from home but now I am an adult I would have to be seen at a different hospital so I am unsure on what I would need to do. 

Thank you. 

Beth

latchbrook
Posted by

Hi  and welcome to the online community

Whilst I can't answer your question I noticed that your post had gone unanswered so thought I would pop over from the melanoma group. It could be that nobody else in this group has experience of what you're asking or they may not have seen your post. By replying to you your post will be 'bumped' back to the top of the page where it will hopefully be seen.

You could also post your question in ask about leukaemia where the Macmillan nurse Caroline will try to respond within 2 working days. Another option is to call the Macmillan Support Line on 0800 808 0000. It's free to call, is open from 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and is staffed by trained experts who will try to answer your question.

Best wishes x

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

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theloneranger
Posted by

Hi Beth,

I was diagnosed with ALL back in 2011 while I was in my early 20s. The night I was diagnosed I was told that before starting chemotherapy they tend to send younger females off to freeze their eggs incase our fertility is compromised by the treatment. In acute leukaemia cases there isn't time to go through the egg freezing process as usually the leukaemia is at a high level in the blood/marrow and the main aim is to start chemotherapy straight away to try and get it under control thus leaving no time to try and preserve fertility.

2 of the girls I met on the leukaemia ward have 4 children between them which were all conceived naturally after they finished treatment. I often do wonder if my fertility has been decreased as a result of the treatment but I suppose I will find out in the future if I ever do decide to have children. Even if there are complications around fertility as a result of your treatment all hope is not lost with many options available.


Maybe if you really want to know about your fertility you could take to the gp about getting some basic blood tests done to check the levels of hormones.


Theloneranger

donthaveaclue3
Posted by

Hello, 

Thank you for your reply it's much appreciated. 

I was diagnosed at a younger age so I don't think fertility even crossed the minds of the doctors. I was sent to numerous hospitals and then straight down to theatre for a portacath and the treatment started straight away like you said as it's a high level. 

It's good to know the other 2 girls managed to conceive naturally and I'm guessing they were around your age at the time too? 

I was on the children's cancer ward and had finished all my treatment before I reached my teens so I'm not sure if my fertility would be affected due to me not starting puberty at this point. 

I know there is other options available but I'm sure it's the same for any woman in that they would prefer to have a child of their own, so that they can experience everything and feel the special bond from the get go. 

I hope everything for you is okay now. 

I booked in at my gp to get referred for tests so I can put my mind at rest. 

Beth

Beth