Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Pregnancy and Chemo a Risky Combo


In general, Gosden says, it's best that egg retrieval be carried out before most types of chemotherapy are begun. Although it is usually possible, there are certain types of leukemias that require starting treatment immediately, which could make it difficult for women to have the embryo-removing procedure done in time. Not wanting to delay starting chemotherapy has been a main reason doctors have performed egg retrieval and IVF with embryo freezing after chemotherapy has begun.

Gosden also says scientists have assumed that the children produced so far from embryos created by IVF prior to their mother's cancer treatment are healthy. But he says more research is needed to follow these children throughout their lives to make sure they don't develop health problems later in life. The same goes for women who have had natural pregnancies years after cancer treatment.

"Perhaps we need to do further checks to make sure our sense of complacency is well justified," says Gosden, of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.

The researchers also warn against becoming pregnant too quickly after being treated for cancer. In the animal studies, the risk for birth defects decreased as the time since chemotherapy increased.

Women with a diagnosis of cancer who are of childbearing age, those who are expecting to receive chemotherapy for cancer, and those who will be receiving cyclophosphamide for other conditions like lupus should talk with their doctors and/or with an expert in genetics or maternal-fetal medicine. If they do become pregnant, they also should inform their child's pediatrician that they received chemotherapy in the past.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas