In The News: Study Finds That Chemotherapy May Impair Fertility Of Cancer Patients’ Children


Chemotherapy significantly lowers fertility rates in female cancer patient’s children, a new study revealed.

Daughters of women with cancer had 70 per cent less chance of producing a child themselves, scientists said.

The shocking discovery by American researchers came amid the first study into the effects of the treatment of the children of cancer patients.

Previous research showed that chemotherapy can reduce patients’ fertility levels.

The latest study, carried out by academics at the University of Utah, used information from the Utah population database.

It showed that the damage caused to the cancer patient by the chemotherapy drug is inherited by the next generation.

Experts suspect that this is due to the fact that chemotherapy medication enters the bloodstream. Blood is then pumped around the body and could change the genetic expression of inherited germ line cells.

The study found that men who undergo chemotherapy do not carry the same risk of passing infertility down to their offspring.

Children of male cancer patients who had undergone chemotherapy treatment only had 2 per cent less chance of producing offspring than the general population.

Scientists believe this due to the fact that sperm regenerates, whereas a women only have a finite amount of eggs.

The study showed that there was a difference in fertility rates of male and female children born to a mother who underwent chemotherapy.

Research suggests that daughters of cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy had 71 per cent less chance of getting pregnant than those with healthy parents, the study showed.

However, patients’ sons appeared to be worse affected with those involved in the study risking an 87 per cent chance of infertility.

Experts have called for further research to be carried out on the issue.

Scientists said: “Further research should evaluate the germ line and gametes of children born to mothers exposed to chemotherapy for genetic and epigenetic changes.”

Currently in the UK, NICE guidelines recommend that all women undergoing chemotherapy have the option to freeze their eggs, however not all clinics provide this option.



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