Adoption after Cancer

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

MARCH 27, 2017

This is a happy topic. One outcome of cancer surgery can be fertility loss. Men are routinely (we hope) referred for sperm-banking before beginning treatment. Sometimes the situation is too urgent for that short delay, and sometimes it does not happen for a variety of other reasons. It is more complicated for women. Yes, it is possible to work with an IVF group and harvest eggs, but that is a big and expensive production that is not always covered by insurance. Additionally it takes a while, and that lost time may be unwise. Finally, although the IVF process has become more sophisticated and there was drugs to use that don't seem to be potentially dangerous (e.g. more estrogen) for women with some cancers, it can still feel a bit dicey.

Sometimes a woman's fertility is not compromised by cancer treatment, but there may be medical reasons to delay or avoid a pregnancy. For example, young women with ER positive breast cancers are usually put on Tamoxifen for five years, and that drug is not compatible with pregnancy. For anyone contemplating parenthood, there are serious considerations, but those are even larger with a cancer history. To be blunt: we must think about our future health and what would happen to a baby/child if the parent were again to become ill.

Here the happy part: I know a number of families who have successfully and joyfully adopted babies after cancer. It is absolutely possible. This is an excellent summary from Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Clearly the information is relevant for all other cancers, too.

March 2017 Ask the Expert: Adoption

Breast cancer and its treatments can make pregnancy di!icult or impossible. But there are many kinds of families, and many ways to build a family. Adoption is one of those ways.
In March, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Gwendolyn P. Quinn, PhD, will answer your questions about adoption, including how to decide if adoption is right for you, how the process works,
and how a history of breast cancer could a!ect your adoption experience.
If you have questions about adoption a"er a breast cancer diagnosis, ask our expert today.
We will answer as many questions as possible, but we cannot answer all questions submitted. We will post answers on an ongoing basis throughout March. Submit your questions now and check back here for updates.
Remember: we cannot provide diagnoses, medical consultations or specific treatment
Read more: http://www.lbbc.org/programs-events/educational-programs/ask-expert/march-2017-ask-expert-adoption

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.