If you’re facing a new diagnosis of cancer, the thought of fertility preservation may not be at the forefront of your mind. But, if you’re of reproductive age and would like to have a family after your cancer has been treated, it’s important to know that options are available to help retain your reproductive potential.
We know this is a remarkably challenging time, and hope that learning about the experiences of others will add to your strength and resolve in both keeping-up the fight and, one day, pursuing your dreams of family. Here, Kelsey, a former PREG patient, generously shares her story.
“It felt like the floor was taken out from under me when I was first diagnosed with cancer. Everything that I wanted to happen in my future was all suddenly at risk. My oncologist cautioned that infertility was one of the possible side effects of the chemotherapy drugs prescribed for my type of cancer. Egg freezing was an option if we had enough time before starting my cancer treatments.
“After a stage 2 diagnosis, my oncologist and I negotiated one round of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which would postpone my chemotherapy start date about 3 weeks.
“I knew my insurance would cover part of the costs for IVF, but I was worried about the total cost of the treatment. Once I found PREG online, they also helped me find other financial aid applications, like the Livestrong Cancer Foundation.
“My doctor fit me in immediately for a phone consultation and within a week I was in to see him and my IVF nurse. I felt like my head was spinning through this whole process, but thankfully PREG guided me the whole way through. The amount of shots and other medications was quite overwhelming at first, but my nurse was understanding and patient. She showed me how to administer all the shots, put together a schedule so it would be easy to follow and listened and responded to my worries with care and thoughtful action. (The shots proved to be painless once I started!)
“I had ultrasound appointments every few days to monitor how I was responding to the medications and to check in with my fertility care team. PREG made it possible for me to make all my fertility appointments in between my cancer related surgeries, tests and appointments. PREG actually has special procedures for working with cancer patients to make sure we have timely care.
“I did feel the hormones amplified the emotional heaviness of my cancer diagnosis. But it is amazing what you can power through when you deeply want to birth a little soul. Three weeks after my first shot and with confirmation that my egg follicles were responding correctly, I was ready to get my eggs harvested.
“The entire harvesting process took only a few hours. For a few days after, it felt as if my ovaries were swollen, but it fully subsided within a week.
“With the wonderful news of a successful harvest, I started my chemotherapy treatments with less anxiety, knowing there was still a possibility of children in my future.”