Cervical Cancer

Fertility and cervical cancer

Treatments for very early stage cervical cancer, such as cone biopsy and radical trachelectomy do not cause a loss of fertility. One woman we interviewed was able to have two children after her radical trachelectomy. Radiotherapy and hysterectomy will prevent women from conceiving or carrying a child of their own naturally. However, there are other options for having children, including preservation of eggs prior to treatment  IVF, surrogacy and adoption.

Some older women, or those who had completed their families said they felt sad and a little upset when the option for having a child was final. Younger women who had not yet had children, or who wanted to have another child, found it very traumatic.

A few said that they were equally or more upset about losing their fertility than at being diagnosed with cancer. One recalls that at first she wanted to try for a baby before she had treatment. Another, who had two children, explains that others could not understand why she was so upset about losing her fertility when her treatment had been successful in removing her cancer.

Others said it was after treatment that they experienced feelings of loss and upset.

Feelings of loss, fear of rejection from partners and feeling less of a woman were common reactions to the knowledge that they could no longer bear children. A few said that during the first few years after their diagnosis they found it hard to cope with others close to them becoming pregnant or having children. One woman explains why she found sitting in the waiting room for her check-up appointments so difficult.

A few newly diagnosed young women were worried that their partners might leave them or they would not be able to form future relationships because they could not have children. One young woman, who had feared rejection, explains that when she did start a new relationship her inability to have children had not been a problem.

Coping with these feelings can be difficult. Some said that accepting their infertility had become easier over time. Some tried to see the positive aspects. One young woman mentioned that some couples do not find out until they are in their late thirties that they can't have children and her and her partner could now pursue other options at a much younger age.

Another focused on projects, holidays and doing things that she would not otherwise have done if she had a second child (see Interview 10 above). A third who had not had any children before she was diagnosed said she got enjoyment from her siblings' and friends' children, that over time she had accepted her infertility and had found other ways to have happiness.

Some had pursued other options to have children. A few had investigated having their eggs frozen before treatment but were not able to because their cancer was quite advanced and they needed to start treatment straight away. Another describes the cryo-ovarian preservation operation she had before radiotherapy, which had given her hope that future scientific developments may enable her to use her ovarian tissue to have a child of her own.

Audio onlyText only
Read below

One woman who had a hysterectomy but did not have her ovaries removed was finding out about surrogacy and IVF options. A third newly diagnosed young woman, felt that in the future she could pursue options of surrogacy, IVF or adoption and said that her hopes of having a child were not lost, just different to the way she thought she would have a family.

Audio onlyText only
Read below

For information on infertility see Infertility Network UK or the Daisy Network which is a support charity for women who have been through premature menopause (often because of chemotherapy).

Donate to healthtalk.org

Last reviewed July 2017.

Last updated March 2010.


Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to healthtalk.org

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email