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Infertility with radiation?
Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:34 am
So I've had this question for a while and I haven't been able to get a straight answer from either my doctor (she's a primary, not a specialist) or even an x-ray/cat scan technican. My question is this: I'm 32 years old and have had a LOT of CT scans for various issues involving gastro issues. I want to say there's about 60 on my file. I know that every time you are given a CT scan, you are putting yourself through an intense amount of radiation each time. Could my 60 (give or take a few) CT scans have possibly made me infertile? I'm otherwise healthy (if not a tad underweight), I've been pregnant once, but it was a long time ago (before a lot of the CT scans) and it was an ectopic pregnancy which miscarried. I really want to be a mother, but I also need a straight answer to my question... I feel that by giving me the runaround, the medical professionals I've talked to about it are trying to not want to be the ones to deliver that blow. Any help?
Re: Infertility with radiation?
Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:42 am
We know that very high radiation doses like that used for radiation therapy for cancers can damage or kill eggs or sperm. However, diagnostic radiology like x-ray and CT uses only low radiation doses. These doses are much lower than those that could produce destructive effects to eggs or sperm. Even though potential effects in human offspring of exposed parents have been investigated, none have ever been detected. Therefore, diagnostic radiation that involves exposing reproductive organs to low levels of radiation is considered safe in regard to genetic effects. Cumulatively high doses may increase the risk, but it is not known how much cumulative radiation it takes to negatively affect germ cells.
Additionally, radiation exposure to sperm or eggs is typically negligible if the testicles or ovaries are not directly exposed. Even if reproductive cells are directly exposed, the dose from a diagnostic exam poses essentially no risk. No studies have shown that low-level radiation exposure to eggs or sperm causes birth defects or miscarriage. Therefore, the risk is exceedingly small. In other words, the risk is less than the three percent overall chance that all fetuses have of birth defects from factors unrelated to radiation.
You may consider ovarian reserve testing to see if the CTs you have had has negatively affected your ovarian reserve. This can be done on day 2-3 with an antral follicle count and serum FSH and AMH levels.
Andy Huang, MD
Reproductive Partners Medical Group, Inc.