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Fertility on Dasatinib

Dear all CML Supporters,

Since diagnosis last September at the age of 32, my wife and I have found our plans for starting a family somewhat hampered.

Long story short- my fertility has imrpoved dramatically and our fertility specialist says that we have a good chance of conceiving naturally.

Great news, except for the fact that I'm on Dasatinib and there is little evidence out there about the effect that this might have on a child.

3% of people who conceive naturally have the chance that there child will have some kind of physical abnormality- heart, lungs, brain etc- and if I was a woman on the same drugs it would be a different matter, as 9 months pregnancy would obviously increase the foetus' contact with the Chemotherapy.

I'm posting in the hope that somone has experience of a similar dilemma. We want a baby so much, and we need to make a decision and live with it.

The way I feel is that sometimes humans get sick- my parents certainly never thought that when they had me 32 years later I'd get CML. My motto at the moment is very much "S*** happens", and with that in mind there is very little reason why we shouldn't have a healthy baby that grows and lives a healthy and long life.

I would really appreciate anyone's thoughts on this. I know it's a personal decision, but it would help us to feel as informed as possible.

And once more just to say what a constant source of inspiration and support this website is to me- long may it continue its important work.

Best wishes-


Dear Adam.... go ahead:o))) 

ALL the CML expert clinicians that I have listened to over the years- and 3 high level ones at a conference just this last week stressed once again that they are very sure that imatinib (or any other TKI) has NO detrimental effect on sperm.

There are many younger CML men who have had children. If you would like to talk to one of them then let me know and I will put you in touch with him, I know he will be glad to advise by email. 

You are right, for women on TKI therapy it is a different proposition because the drugs can have an effect on the foetus in the first trimester. However there are also quite a few women who have managed their pregnancies with either Interferon or Leukopheresis- this is of course if their doctor feels the risk of progression is low.

Thanks for the words of encouragement regarding this Website. It certainly helps to know that people benefit from it.

I've only got my experience on Imatinib, but they are similar to your situation...

Have read this forum since diagnosis (Nov 2007). Fertility issues were one of the things that were important to me and my wife at that time too.

I'm being treated at Hammersmith and consultants there indicated they were happy for us to try for children - I was on Imatinib 400mg. From my own reading, it implied that the exposure to the hydroxyurea which I took in the first few weeks had more potential to cause problems than the Imatinib. My consultant arranged for me to have an apppointment with the fertility doc at Hammersmith who indicated he knew of no problems with Imatinib where the father was taking it. He did say there was a risk fathering a child on any medication, and that as there was little/no data specifically on Imatinib, in his opinion this was unquantifiably small.

I understand there is little data on Dasatinib too, so you perhaps the same argument would be applied? Obviously if there was a recognised medical risk, then we wouldn't have taken the "chance" as it were and had to deal with it. We also didn't want to look back in years to come and wonder "what if". People are taking all sorts of medication and the interactions are not that well understood so doctors cannot say 100% it doesn't affect. I'm certainly not saying be all "gun-ho" about it, but you have to weigh-up all the (little) data and make your own choices.

What does your consultant say? Perhaps they could arrange you to chat with the fertility dept. at your hospital (or even at Hammersmith?) so you can gather more opinion/data?

We were lucky enough to have a healthy baby boy who is now 8 months old!

Am happy to chat more on our experiences if you want to drop you email address out. Best Wishes.

Hi Adam,

My husband is on nilotinib being treated at Hammersmith.  While he was on imatinib the advice was, "no baby issues, if you want one go for it" (OK, I admit I paraphrased that slightly!)

Now that he is on nilotinib the advice has changed.  We have been advised against natural conception, and rather to go the assisted fertility route, which includes a number of different options from basic IUI through to the more invasive IVF.

Sandy - it sounds like you've heard differently, and that natural conception while the bloke is taking nilotinib/dastinib is ok.  If so could you perhaps elaborate on where you got this information, as perhaps it's worth us getting a second opinion, or at least having another discussion with our consultant, and the opinion of other specialists would help facilitate this discussion.

Good luck to you and your parnter Adam, I hope you find an option that you are happy with.


Hi Bhiru, yes I did hear differently but I will check that out as soon as I can and get back to you. I think it might be the fact that nilotinib does not have as much data supporting it as imatinib does so it is a cautionary thing. 

I will let you know as soon as I can.

Best.... Sandy

Hi Adam,

My son - only age 12 - was diagnosed at 10 and I did have concern about future fertility.  I think I may have posted the topic here, but I also asked the same question on some other blogs.

The response I received - as to Gleevec - is that it does not impact sperm.  As you probably already know, it's not inherited and the BCR/ABL gene should not pass in sperm. 

While there's not as much info on Dasatinib, there is quite a bit available.  Through my research on various issues that have come up, I've found that the lead researchers/scientists on the respective TKIs are very receptive and have responded - via email - to several of my inquiries.  You may want to locate a lead researcher on Dasatininb trials/studies.  They're usually continuing their work at a major university or hospital.

And as another person mentioned here, CML hematologic conferences are great to attend.  You can usually run your stats by the best of the best CML scientists - and get an honest assessment.

You may also want to contact the pharmaceutical company, Squibb, which manufactures Dasatinib.  I've found that Novartis has been very helpful in providing information on Gleevec.

Best wishes to you and your wife.  I had all my kids in my 30's - and I think my kids are better for it.

Take care.



Dear Bhiru... as promised I asked for advice from one of the CML clinicians in EU and the reply is that the advice you have been given regarding nilotinib and its effect on sperm is a conservative (safe) one because of the lack of data regarding nilotinib... but when considering it all nilotinib should not be any different in effect from imatinib (which has no such warning for males) - as both have the same mechanism of action and neither drug is teratogenic -see link to wikipaedia

  My understanding from this is as it was before.... these drugs are thought to be safe regarding sperm although with regard to nilotinib that is still unofficial for now. But as always you should discuss this with Jed's doctor before making any decision on likely risks etc.

Sandy ;o)



Ask your doctor about the possibilities of conceiving a baby. I guess there is more hope that yuo would have a healthy child as it's not your wife who is on medicine. Have some dose of optimism.

- Miriam (<a href="">hospitals</a>)"

Hi Adam,

First time of actually using this site but I have been reading it regularly!

My partner, Tom (age 25) was diagnosed March this year with CML Chronic phase. He was on hydroxyurea for 2weeks and then opted for the Spirit 2 Trial and has been on (100mg)Dasatinib since. Side effects have been minimal and already having cytogenetic response!

Just before starting treatment he stored sperm and just recently we have been discussing our options. His consultant referred us to the fertility dept at Coventry University Hospital, he also advised us that once Tom is in full remission (or to allow treatment for at least 2yrs) we can consider coming off the Dasatinib and going onto Interferon which will allow us to try naturally!

Coventry Hospital Fertility dept was not as we expected, firstly as his consultant has indicated we have a future possibility of conceiving natuarly and secondly I already have a 9yr old from previous relationship...this therefore means we do not fit the criteria for NHS IVF!

So without the means of paying for IVF ourselves we have been researching all our options!

We have been told by his consultant to take precautions and not to conceive whilst Tom is on Dasatinib! However, now doing some homework it looks like there is little evidence to suggest a man on treatment would have an unhealthy child!

Please can you let us know what you have found out or your thoughts and feelings.... or any suggestions of who to speak to!!


Thank You

All the Best