Your fertility options

BRCA gene mutations: I have ovarian cancer

Having ovarian cancer and being treated for ovarian cancer can affect your ability to become pregnant.

There are method you can explore to have a baby:

In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is the process in which eggs are fertilised by sperm (from your partner or a donor) outside of your body and then placed into your womb.

IVF can be performed using your own eggs and your partner's sperm or using donated eggs or donated sperm, or both.

Depending on your diagnosis and treatment it may have been possible to harvest eggs before your treatment started in which case you can use your own eggs during IVF.

If it wasn't possible to harvest eggs before your treatment it may be possible for you to use donated eggs.

Most fertility centres advise that you wait for two years after treatment for ovarian cancer before trying to have a baby via IVF.

How much does IVF cost?

The NHS covers some of the costs of IVF treatment.

Your clinical nurse specialist or consultant will be able to help you to get a referral from your GP for IVF treatment.

If you are not eligible for NHS funding or you decide to pay for your IVF you can contact a private clinic where prices vary across the UK.

Find out more

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulates and licenses fertility clinics.

You can use the HFEA to find out more about IVF techniques, how long treatment may take, how to find a clinic and costs.


Surrogacy is where another woman (the surrogate) carries your baby through pregnancy for you.

Traditional surrogacy

  • Traditional surrogacy or 'partial' or 'straight' surrogacy is where an embryo is created using sperm from the intended father and an egg from the surrogate
  • Fertilisation is usually carried out by artificial insemination and can be completed in a clinic or with an insemination kit at home

Host surrogacy

  • Host surrogacy or 'full' or 'gestational' surrogacy is where an embryo is created using the egg and sperm of the intended parents, a donated egg with the sperm from the intended father or donor eggs and donor sperm
  • Host surrogacy is much more complicated than traditional surrogacy

How much does surrogacy cost?

You can find out more about the legality and costs of surrogacy from Surrogacy UK and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Find out more

Surrogacy UK have comprehensive and accurate information on the different methods of surrogacy. 

Adoption and fostering

Through adoption you would assume the parenting of a child from that child’s biological or legal parent or parents.

ll rights and responsibilities for the child are transferred permanently to the adopting parents.

Although most adoption agencies allow cancer survivors to adopt, some require a letter from a doctor certifying good health, and others may require a certain amount of time to pass after you have completed treatment for cancer.

Fostering is a way of providing a home for a child at times when they are unable to live with their birth family, including providing care in emergencies and for longer periods.

The child will remain in touch with their biological family and hopefully will return home.

Find out more

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering specialise in finding parents for those children who wait longest including sibling groups, older children, children with disabilities and BME children.

Debbie, diagnosed aged 26, said: “Fostering is one of the most amazing things you can give a child and it enriches your life too.

"We fostered nine children and adopted one of them. There were concerns that I wouldn’t be able to give them back, but I always knew it was a job and I was looking after other people's children.“