The diagnosis of cancer is devastating. It is very difficult to make thoughtful, decisive and emotional decisions when under undue stress. It is also difficult to know what questions to ask and what is most important to consider
Breast cancer affects 1 in every 8 women. This statistic impacts 5 percent of this population under the age of 40. Previously, family planning and or fertility preservation was never a consideration once the cancer diagnosis was established. However, with the vast advancements in research and technology, early detectable breast cancer has increased cure rates from 78 percent a decade ago to 98 percent today.
This dramatic increase in cure rates brings hope. Hope for the future. Hope breeds confidence and the healthy mental attitude necessary to hold prior to starting any treatment.
Awareness, education, and knowledge of available resources build options and opportunities for fertility preservation.
There are several options to consider. While all options may not necessarily apply to all situations, options for biological fertility preservation prior to treatment may include egg freezing or embryo freezing. If treatment cannot be delayed, options to explore egg donation and or surrogacy are readily available. Combining egg donation with a transfer to a gestational surrogate yields excellent chances for success.
Surrogacy is available in two forms. Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate uses her own egg to create the pregnancy. In this situation, the carrier is biologically related to the offspring.
Gestational surrogacy is a more prevalent option since the carrier is not at all biologically related to the offspring. This option in most states offers the best legal protection for intended parents to obtain a birth certificate with their names listed as parents at birth or shortly thereafter.
Enlisting an Infertility Consultant/patient advocate is important to clarifying expectations, creating future options and identifying appropriate resources. Planning and expanding opportunities for the future is a very hopeful and proactive approach prior to entering treatment and preparing for a cancer free future.