Fertility (the ability to have a child) tends to increase in both men and women after a transplant. Are you thinking about pregnancy? If so, you should discuss it beforehand with your transplant team and other healthcare providers. There are many things to consider. You and your healthcare provider should discuss them all very carefully.
Here are a few brief answers to some common questions about kidney disease and pregnancy.
Can a woman who has a kidney transplant have a baby?
Yes. If you have a kidney transplant, you are likely to have regular menstrual periods and good general health. Therefore, getting pregnant and having a child is possible. But you should not become pregnant for at least one year after your transplant, even with stable kidney function. Some medicines that you take after a kidney transplant can cause problems to a developing baby. In some cases, pregnancy may not be recommended because there is a high risk to you or the baby. Another reason is if there is a risk of losing the transplant.
Talk with your healthcare provider if you have a transplant and are thinking about getting pregnant. Your healthcare provider may need to change your medications so that it is safe for you to become pregnant. It is very important to use birth control until you and your healthcare provider have agreed that it is safe for you to become pregnant.
How might medicines taken by transplant patients affect an unborn child?
Many anti-rejection medicines are generally safe for a pregnant woman and her baby. However, there are some types that can affect pregnancy and the baby. These types should be avoided during pregnancy and stopped at least six weeks (or more) before becoming pregnant. Your doctor will likely monitor you after you’ve stopped, and let you know when it’s safe to attempt pregnancy.
If you have a kidney transplant and are considering pregnancy, you should discuss it carefully with your transplant team and your kidney doctor. Your doctor may want you to switch to a different anti-rejection medicine.
What kind of birth control is recommended for transplant patients?
Transplant patients who are sexually active and have not undergone menopause should use birth control to prevent pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can recommend the type of birth control that should be used. Many women who have high blood pressure should not use “the pill” (oral contraceptives) since this type of medicine can raise blood pressure and increase the chance of blood clots. The diaphragm, sponge, and condom are usually acceptable means of birth control, especially when used with spermicidal creams, foams or jellies. The newer IUD is also possible.
Can I become pregnant after receiving a transplant?
Yes! After receiving a transplant your fertility can return quickly and you can become pregnant. You should use appropriate birth control measures and any consideration of pregnancy should be discussed with your healthcare providers.
Is pregnancy safe after transplant?
Depending on the type of transplant you received and your other personal health factors, there may be special issues to consider. Although not very common, pregnancy may cause problems. Successful pregnancy is most likely when your transplanted organ is working well and your medication doses are stable prior to pregnancy.
Do the children develop normally?
The NTPR continually updates its information with a special focus on child health and development. At follow-up, the children are overwhelmingly reported to be healthy and developing well. Rare health or development problems have occurred, more likely due to prematurity or inherited disorders.
Fertility generally returns after renal transplantation. Approximately 74% of pregnancies in kidney transplant recipients end successfully in life births.