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Long term effects of radiation

My son had Acute Myeloid leukemia many years ago (1989) and he was treated with chemo and full body radiation for 4 days (3x a day). The doctors discussed with usthe the long term effects of radiation and told us that he would develop cataracts and also be sterile. He did eventually develop cataracts. Now at the age of 29, he and his girlfriend just announced that she is pregnant. My son was always told that he would be sterile but truly believes that this is his child but I am concerned for the validity of this and if this is truly his child how much should I be concerned about the health of the unborn child?
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replied June 20th, 2009
Some people will still retain their fertility after chemotherapy and radiation therapy, so it is not altogether impossible that your son has fathered a child. Unfortunately, the only way to be certain regarding the issue of paternity is for both he and the baby to be tested.

As for the impact of your son's diagnosis and treatment for AML, there may be some increased risk of genetic abnormalities in offspring following parental chemotherapy but, once again, it is not possible for me to say what the risks are specifically for this new baby.

Sincerely/ Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS
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