Parenthood probability and pregnancy outcome in patients with a cancer diagnosis during adolescence and young adulthood

Hum Reprod. 2008 Jan;23(1):178-86. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dem362. Epub 2007 Nov 16.


Background: To compare first-time parenthood probability and pregnancy outcome between cancer patients and the general population.

Methods: Data from a hospital registry on cancer patients aged 15-35 years at diagnosis, including date/type of diagnosis, treatment and date of death, were merged with data from the Cancer Registry and the Medical Birth Registry, providing date of childbirth, IVF, pregnancy outcomes and demographics.

Results: The first-time parenthood probability at the age of 35 years was 63% in male patients (n = 463) and 64% in the male general population (n = 367 068). Figures in female patients were 66% (n = 284) compared with 79% in the female general population (n = 349 576) (P = 0.007). A total of 487 male and 251 female cancer patients were childless pre-diagnosis, and 130 male and 104 female cancer patients had one child before diagnosis and at least one birth post-diagnosis. Congenital anomalies were more frequent in first-borns to previously childless male patients [adjusted odds ratio (OR(adj)): 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1-2.3]. The risk of low birth weight and preterm delivery after cancer was increased in infants born to female patients, as was perinatal mortality (OR(adj) 2.3; 95% CI: 1.1-5.0) among post-diagnosis first births.

Conclusions: The first-time parenthood probability in 35-year old cancer patients is approximately 60%, which in female patients is significantly reduced compared with the general population. Post-diagnosis pregnancies to female patients are high-risk pregnancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Medical Records*
  • Neoplasms*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology
  • Parents*
  • Perinatal Mortality
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Probability*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors