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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 18 years

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Partner had chemo session for testicular cancer. Having pregnancy symptoms after having sex. Suggestion?

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My boyfriend underwent his first chemo session for testicular cancer. It was with the etoposide and platinum chemicals not belomycin, he also took decadron and anti nausea meds. It was his first one. We were told he would be sterile with the treatment and about two weeks after it, we had unprotected sex. I am nervous about the possible effects and want to look at my options. Under normal circumstances I would totally move forward because I am financially and prepared for it, however I am not sure if it is even possible to have a totally healthy baby given these circumstances. I want to know if anyone has had a healthy baby in a similar situation. If not I may consider abortion. Any advice from any doctors out there would be greatly appreciated. I just tested positive I am three days away from my "period". I am nervous and am already displaying pregnancy symtoms which is why I tested. I am normally a healthy female never had a history of cancer or anything else.
Thu, 17 Jan 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 5 hours later

Thanks for writing in.

I am sorry to know about your boyfriend. Testicular cancer is very chemosensitive and I strongly believe that he will be cured of this.
Infertility after BEP or even EP chemotherapy is well-known but actually most (>60%) gain normal sperm counts by 2 years after therapy. Still, sperm banking is recommended for all prior to starting therapy. You have not mentioned if your boyfriend's sperms have been preserved.
It is well known that chemotherapy can damage the developing sperms and induce genetic changes in them. So, during and for upto 24 months after chemo the sperms can carry genetic changes which can, in turn be transmitted to the offspring. These results are from sperm studies and not from pregnancy or offspring studies as frequency of pregnancy in this scenario is low. In one study, at 6 months after chemo, all patients had abnormal sperms. Hence most clinicians advise their patients to refrain from becoming a parent until 18-24 months after chemo, unless it is from a previously preserved sperm.

If you want to take that chance then you may go ahead with your pregnancy, otherwise you would have to go for termination.

Hope I have answered your query. I will be available to answer any follow-up queries.

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