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Pregnancy and contraception

It's very important to avoid pregnancy during chemotherapy treatment, whether it's the man or woman having the treatment. 

It's possible for a woman having chemotherapy to get pregnant. Or for a female partner of a man having chemotherapy to get pregnant during his treatment.

The chemotherapy drugs could harm the developing baby. So always use reliable contraception if there’s any chance that you or your partner could become pregnant. 

Types of contraception

If you’re a woman having cancer treatment, and you’ve been taking the contraceptive pill, check with your doctor whether it’s safe for you to continue. The pill can slightly increase the risk of a blood clot (thrombosis) in some people. But if you can use it, the pill is a very reliable form of contraception.

For women with a risk of blood clots, the safest contraception is barrier methods such as condoms or the cap. 

There’s no evidence that chemotherapy treatment will affect your sexual partner. But there’s a small chance that the drug could find its way into your body fluids.

Doctors don't know this for sure. So they advise using barrier contraception (a condom) throughout a course of chemotherapy and for a week or so afterwards.

This applies whether it is the man or the woman who's having cancer treatment.
Last reviewed: 
28 Feb 2018
  • The Chemotherapy Source Book (4th edition)
    Michael C Perry
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2008

  • Handbook of Cancer Chemotherapy (8th edition)
    Skeel, R.T. and Khleif, S.N.
    Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2011

  • Cancer and its Management

    J Tobias and D Houchhauser

    Wiley Blackwell 2015

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