Although fertility is often the last thing you think about when diagnosed with cancer, radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause long-term problems with sperm production. Often sperm can be stored before starting treatments. With low doses of radiation and some types of chemotherapy, sperm production can return to normal after a period of time. Ask your doctor about sperm storage before having these treatments, and find out when it is safe to try to become pregnant naturally after the treatments have stopped.
Fertility or sexual performance problems can also happen with other prescribed drugs such as some drugs used to treat inflammatory conditions, depression, epilepsy, high blood pressure and diabetes. Well known to cause low sperm counts are the drugs Proviron and testosterone injections, which are sometimes mistakenly given to increase sperm counts.
Taking anabolic steroids for body building or competitive sports damages your body. Besides causing acne, weight gain and changes in mood, your testicles shrink in size and sperm production stops. In other words, “steroids = sterile”. Once the drugs are stopped, sperm production may take one to two years to return to normal.
Fertility can also be affected by using other illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin because they lower testosterone levels and sex drive. Not having regular sex can make it more difficult to become pregnant. There are many other illegal drugs that affect sexual performance and may reduce sperm production or even damage the sperm themselves. We simply don’t know all the risks – so don’t take the chance!