Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis at any age is devastating. However, if a woman is in her reproductive years, the news can be even more difficult. Through the shock and fear of it all, it’s important to remember that having a family is still possible.
The Fertility Preservation Talk
Following a cancer diagnosis, patients are in a mental fog. Right away, a list of doctor appointments take place such as surgeons, oncologists, radiologists and plastic surgeons if breast reconstruction surgery is needed.
If a patient is in her reproductive years, it’s essential that she add a fertility specialist on that list. It’s vital that she make this appointment before beginning any treatments. At this time, a woman needs to know her options and create a plan.
While each patient is different, medical matters to discuss are the following:
- Fertility preservation such as egg freezing or embryo freezing
- How much time should pass after cancer treatments to become pregnant
- What to do if pregnancy is not advisable due to oral cancer suppressing drugs
Fertility specialists for younger patients are part of a patient’s medical team.
How Surrogates Can Help
Fertility preservation includes egg freezing and embryo freezing. However, some patients may not be able to carry their baby. Again, this is all patient dependent.
If a woman is on a five-year course of cancer-suppressing drugs following her surgery and/or treatment, that medication could be harmful to her fetus. In cases such as this, a surrogate is a perfect option to help carry a breast cancer survivor’s baby.
For example, television host and fashion designer, Giuliana Rancic, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 36 years old. Rancic underwent a bilateral mastectomy with breast reconstruction.
Also part of her treatment was oral medication to help prevent future cancer. Rancic turned to a gestational carrier who carried her son and gave birth in August 2012.
Be it frozen eggs or embryos, a woman can look ahead to the future knowing that she is doing what she can not to let cancer dictate her future.
She will have the family she has always wanted through assisted reproduction.
How Egg Donors Can Help
There are times a breast cancer survivor needs an egg donor to help build her family. Even if she did undergo fertility preservation before her cancer treatments, the frozen eggs or frozen embryos may not have worked out.
Despite those preservation efforts, they may not have resulted in a successful pregnancy either for her or her surrogate.
In these cases, egg donation is highly recommended.
There are top egg donor agencies that have an impressive database of donor applicants. They also undergo medical and psychological screenings. Donors vary in nationalities, academic accomplishments and more.
When choosing an egg donor, it’s vital that intended parents take their time. Once an egg donor is selected, either a survivor can carry her baby or her surrogate can.
Parenthood After Breast Cancer
For younger breast cancer patients, partnering with a fertility specialist is essential. It provides them with options and empowerment when they need it most. No matter what fertility road they take, motherhood is attainable after cancer.