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can radioactive iodine cause infertility?

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2007

I just scheduled my radioactive iodine therapy to kill whatever was left after my near total thyroidectomy b/c of papillary thyroid cancer. Does anyone know if radioactive iodine will have any negative effects on fertility. I'm in my early 20's and don't have any kids yet. Also, can anyone tell me about their experiences positive/negative on trying to get pregnant after a similar situation. I'm not looking to get pregnant anytime soon, but was wondering if I should meet w/my gyno before i have this treatment? Thanks in advance, I've found this website to be very informative!

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006


You may want to contact the American Cancer Society's National Cancer Information Center. Cancer Information Specialists are available 24 hours a day and can provide you with detailed in formation on your treatment. They can be reached at 1-800-227-2345.

Take care and be well,

CSN Dana

Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2006

Fertility is normally no problem in women after RAI treatment, however men can have problems and it is often suggested they bank their sperm before treatment. Women should not become pregnant for a certain time period but that period will depend on how much RAI they give you

Rustifox's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Mar 2005

I had some links for answering this awhile back, so thought they may be helpful for you - have copied them below:

While most doctors recommend waiting at least a full year following I-131 treatment doses before becoming pregnant, it is unlikely to be a concern for younger women. Many, many patients have gone on to have healthy, large families in your situations, and even in situations where the pregnancy occured shortly after treatments:



Here are some further studies:




In older women, ie those of us in our early to mid 40's, and nearing perimenopause or menopause, it is possible to see early menopause from I-131 treatments.

There has been some data showing (very) temporary ovarian failure after I-131 treatments - but this has also been shown to 'recover' with the exception of older women:



Hopefully, these will help to set your mind at ease. It is always good advice to discuss this issue with your OBGYN and endocrinologist, of course - but studies do agree that the vast majority of women will go on to have uncomplicated successful pregnancies, providing your TSH is monitored at least monthly during your pregnancies.

Our TSH DOES go very wonky when pregnant, often soaring far too high, though - again, make sure that your TSH is monitored carefully, closely, and frequently whenever you do decide to begin your family - becoming hypothyroid at all when pregnant can be a major risk to the fetus. Hope this helps!

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2007

No! No! No! I was told it would make me infertile. I had RAI Oct 7th, 2005 (a large dose) and was being careful just in case. On February 26th, 2006 I found out I was pregnant. I delivered prematurely Oct.1st, 2006 but he is now happy and healthy.

So, NO! RAI definitely does not cause infertility. Oh yeah, and while my son was in the NICU, a mother whose baby was just a few babies down from mine had the exact same story!

Good luck!

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