What are fertility services?
Sometimes cancer and its treatment can affect a person’s ability to conceive a child or maintain a pregnancy now or in the future. The impact will depend on the type of cancer and treatment you have. There are a range of options available to preserve and protect your fertility prior to and during treatment. Assisted reproductive treatment, commonly known as fertility treatment, can be one pathway to parenthood; others may include fostering, adoption and surrogacy.
Learn more about fertility and cancer
Talking about fertility
Whether or not you want to become a parent or add to your family, you may be wondering how cancer will affect your fertility.
Fertility is an important part of health for everyone. But your doctor may not discuss whether you want children in the future if they make assumptions based on your age, sexual orientation, gender and sex characteristics or focus on starting treatment immediately. If fertility matters to you, let your health professional know.
To assist with starting the discussion, here are some suggested questions:
- Before we start treatment, I want to talk about my fertility options with a specialist. Who would you recommend?
- How will this treatment affect my chances of having a child in the future?
- Will any of these chemotherapy drugs reduce my fertility?
- Should I think about storing sperm/eggs/embryos before treatment starts?
Questions to ask about this service
When looking at a service it is important to ask questions about how the service works before you decide to engage with them. Below is a list of questions you might like to ask when enquiring about a service.
Am I eligible?
Some services have specific criteria that a person must meet before they are able to use a service, for example location, means testing or a specific cancer type. It is important to know if you are eligible to access a service right from the start.
Do I need a referral?
Some services require a referral from your specialist, GP or a social worker. This helps to make sure that the right patients are being connected with the right services. It’s a good idea to ask if a referral is needed and if so, exactly what type of referral the service requires.
How much will this cost me?
Some services are free, and some come at a cost. At a time when people should be focused on their treatment and recovery, the cost of cancer can be a source of stress and worry for many. It’s a good idea to ask about the fees attached to a service and if there are any subsidies or benefits you might be eligible for before committing to the service. It’s important to know that you are within your rights to ask about the cost of a service or treatment before agreeing to take part. For more information you can visit cancer and your finances.
Is there a wait time?
Sometimes demand for a service is high which can cause wait times. You might find it helpful to ask if there are any wait times for the services you are looking at, especially if you require support as soon as possible.
What services do you offer?
Some organisations provide a range of services for people affected by cancer, their family, friends and carers. It is a good idea to ask about exactly what services are available to you.
Will I be treated as an inpatient or an outpatient?
Depending on the type of treatment or care you are receiving you may be seen as an inpatient or an outpatient. You are considered an inpatient if you have been admitted to the hospital for treatment. Alternatively, you are considered an outpatient when you receive treatment at a hospital, but without being admitted. It’s important to know if you are going to be treated as an inpatient or an outpatient as this can impact the cost of treatment, and will help you to understand the amount of time you might need to spend at the hospital.
Health professionals you might see
When you visit a service there are a range of health professionals you may see. There could also be other health professionals you see at this service that are not included below.
Provides support and advice for people who are experiencing fertility issues.
Diagnoses, treats and manages infertility and reproductive hormonal disorders; may be an obstetrician, gynaecologist, reproductive endocrinologist or urologist.
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