Surgery

Surgery - Fertility Risks

Surgery’s Effects on Reproductive Organs and Systems

Concerns for Men

Surgery to remove one testis or both testes can have an impact on a man’s fertility. If only one testis is removed, he may still be able to father a child because the remaining testis can compensate for the one that is lost. However, if both testes are removed, sperm production is no longer possible.

Some men who have surgery affecting the prostate, bladder, urethra, or colon experience retrograde ejaculation. Instead of ejaculating forward out of the urethra, semen travels backward into the bladder and exits the body when a man urinates.

Retrograde ejaculation is not harmful, but it does prevent fertilization, as sperm cells cannot reach the egg cell.

Concerns for Women

Women who have both ovaries removed will undergo surgical menopause and no longer produce egg cells. If only one ovary is removed, conceiving is still possible.

Surgical removal of the uterus, cervix, and/or both fallopian tubes may prevent a woman from conceiving and carrying a baby to term.

Fertility-preserving surgery may be possible, however. For example, some women with early-stage cervical cancer have their cervix removed, but their uterus remains. This can make carrying a baby possible, although delivery must occur via Caesarian section.

Resources

  1. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO);“Fertility Concerns and Preservation for Men”;(Reviewed and approved: March 2014); http://www.cancer.net/coping-and-emotions/sexual-and-reproductive-health/fertility-concerns-and-preservation-men
  2. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO);“Fertility Concerns and Preservation for Women”;(Reviewed and approved: March 2014); http://www.cancer.net/coping-and-emotions/sexual-and-reproductive-health/fertility-concerns-and-preservation-women
  3. International Society for Sexual Medicine;“Can ovary removal have effects on sexual health/functioning?”;http://www.issm.info/education-for-all/sexual-health-qa/can-ovary-removal-have-effects-on-sexual-health-functioning/;
  4. International Society for Sexual Medicine;“;“How might removal of one or both testicles affect a man’s sex life?”; http://www.issm.info/education-for-all/sexual-health-qa/how-might-removal-of-one-or-both-testicles-affect-a-mans-sex-life/
  5. OncoLink (Penn Medicine);Vachani, Carolyn, RN, MSN, AOCN;“Female Fertility and Cancer Treatment”;(Last modified: October 6, 2006); http://www.oncolink.org/coping/article.cfm?c=534&id=990 ;
  6. OncoLink (Penn Medicine);Vachani, Carolyn, RN, MSN, AOCN;“Male Fertility and Cancer Treatment”;(Last modified: October 6, 2006); http://www.oncolink.org/coping/article.cfm?id=992&aid=1496
  7. Sexual Medicine Society of North America;“Overview - Retrograde Ejaculation”;http://www.sexhealthmatters.org/retrograde-ejaculation/overview-retrograde-ejaculation