The Lived Experience of Seeking Pregnancy in a Woman with a History of Cancer

  •  Tsorng-Yeh Lee    


Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a rare form of cancer that affects the bone marrow's ability to produce mature blood cells. Several treatments are available, including chemotherapy using anticancer or cytotoxic drugs, blood or platelet transfusions, and stem cell transplants. In this study, a 33-year-old woman shares her experience of attempting to conceive while undergoing treatment for myelodysplastic syndromes. The study aimed to explore the psychosocial difficulties women with a history of cancer treatment may encounter when trying to get pregnant. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were undertaken, recorded, and transcribed verbatim. The transcript was analyzed by narrative analysis. Four themes were identified: 1) Support from loved ones, 2) Challenges in conceiving, 3) Emotional ups and downs during pregnancy, and 4) The joy of motherhood. A cancer diagnosis can devastate young women, primarily if the treatment affects their fertility. These women must have the support of their husbands. Fortunately, many methods are available to assist women in successfully conceiving, although the journey can be difficult and emotional. The ups and downs of the process are inevitable, but the desire to become a mother makes it all worth it in the end. Cancer treatment for myelodysplastic syndromes and related conditions can profoundly impact childbearing women. Such women may face significant challenges if they plan to have a child after treatment. Hence, further research with more women with the diagnosis of MDS is imperative in this critical area.

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