No parent likes to think about their child developing a possibly life-threatening illness that will require surgery or invasive treatments to cure. Even fewer parents like to think about the scars those illness and other injuries can leave, often affecting a person and their fertility throughout their life. But if they’ve already beaten the ailment, the worst is behind them. You as a parent owe it to your children to make sure they’re informed about any prior treatments or illnesses that may affect their fertility in their adult life.
According to a new article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics News, a good starting point for the parent unsure how to have this conversation is to do some research on what diseases and treatments can actually cause infertility later in life. Aside from usual cancer and STI’s you may be surprised to know that complications from the mumps may manifest in infertility later in life. Keeping yourself informed is the first step to informing others. Be sure that in doing so you’re gathering information from evidence-based studies and reputable sources, getting health advice off the internet can be a tricky business, and in the case of less well-known conditions it can be easy for misinformation to drown out the fact.
You may be tempted to have a “one and done” talk with your child about their potential loss of fertility, but this is irresponsible at best. As your child grows their questions and concerns about their condition and how it may affect the course of their life are going to evolve. Make sure that you keep the dialogue active and open, not just with your child but with any medical professionals available to you. You should also consider keeping some kind of log of these conversations to make sure you’re not missing any vital pieces of information.
The important thing to keep in mind is that no matter how bleak the outcome looks, there’s no reason your child can’t fulfill their dreams of having a family. New advances in fertility preservation and restoration are being made every day, and even if having children of their own is a lost cause, hundreds of orphaned or unwanted babies all over the world are in need of a loving parent. Millions around the globe fight the same battle they do and win, and with your help, they just might too.