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CLL Medicines' Effect on Fertility and Pregnancy
Posted: Jun 28, 2023
CLL Medicines' Effect on Fertility and Pregnancy image

Pregnancy and CLL 

Medicines that treat CLL can cause harm to an unborn baby. Female CLL patients must have a negative pregnancy test before starting treatment. Patients should avoid becoming pregnant or fathering a child while taking CLL medicines and for the designated period after based on the medicine’s instructions. If you have questions related to effective birth control options during cancer treatment, contact your CLL specialist

If you think you have become pregnant or fathered a child while using any CLL medicines, tell your doctor right away. The below medicines are the current preferred CLL therapies. Other medicines not in the below list may be used to treat the patient’s disease based on their situation. Time periods to use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy while taking the below CLL medicines include:

  • Venetoclax (venclexta
    • Avoid pregnancy and fathering a child during treatment and at least 1 week after the last dose 
  • Obinutuzumab (gazyva
    • Avoid pregnancy and fathering a child during treatment and for 6 months after the last dose
  • Rituximab (rituxan
    • Avoid pregnancy and fathering a child during treatment and for 12 months after the last dose
  • Zanubrutinib (brukinsa
    • Avoid pregnancy and fathering a child during treatment and for at least 1 week after the last dose
  • Acalabrutinib (calquence
    • Avoid pregnancy and fathering a child during treatment and for at least 1 week after the last dose

CLL Medicines and Fertility 

Certain CLL medicines may affect an individual’s ability to have a baby after treatment (fertility).  Before starting treatment, a fertility specialist may be able to help men store sperm and women store eggs or ovarian tissue by collecting and freezing them. Below are findings on which CLL medicines do and don’t impact fertility after treatment. 

  • Venetoclax: Can cause fertility problems in males. It has not been shown to cause fertility problems for females.  If you would like to father a child after stopping treatment, talk with your doctor about options to store sperm
  • Zanubrutinib: Has not been found to impact fertility after discontinuation 
  • Acalabrutinib: Has not been found to impact fertility after discontinuation 
  • Rituximab: Has not been found to impact fertility after discontinuation
  • Obinutuzumab: It can decrease fertility for men and women after treatment. If you would like to have a baby after stopping this treatment, talk with your doctor about options to store eggs and sperm

If you have further questions related to CLL medicines' impact on pregnancy and fertility, contact your CLL specialist. Need help finding a specialist? Check out HealthTree's CLL specialist directory here

The author Megan Heaps

about the author
Megan Heaps

Megan joined HealthTree in 2022. As a writer and the daughter of a blood cancer patient, she is dedicated to helping patients and their caregivers understand the various aspects of their disease. This understanding enables them to better advocate for themselves and improve their treatment outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family. 

Thanks to our HealthTree Community for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Sponsors:

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