Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fertility Preservation? What is that? : Part II

Please excuse the divergence from my usual "Words of Wisdom Wednesday" post.
Part I Part II / Part III / Part IV

So, here I am, following up to Monday's post.

We don't have kids, are not pregnant, and are not currently TTC. So, why have I been to a fertility doctor?

In 2009, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and was told I needed to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments. These kind of treatments are a sea of the unknown.
Will I lose my hair? Probably, but maybe not. (I did)
Will I feel sick all the time and be vomiting? Probably not, but maybe. (Just exhausted and frail)
Will this affect my fertility? Probably not, but we can't guarantee that. (??)

I didn't even know to ask that fertility question! Most patients don't know that either. My primary doctor prompted that discussion, and before the diagnosis week was over, I was sitting in Dr. Rychlik's fertility clinic's office for a consultation on fertility preservation.

So what is fertility preservation? Cancer treatments have varying risks of infertility to both men and women. For women, they cannot guarantee you will resume a normal menstrual cycle, but the other big issue is that women are born with all of the eggs they will ever have already in their body. Therefore, undergoing a harsh, toxic treatment like chemotherapy would also "treat" these eggs. No one know to what extent this effects the eggs and if it leads to miscarriages, difficulty conceiving, birth defects etc. Fertility preservation is an option for patients to have eggs (or sperm for males) BEFORE they begin chemotherapy treatment so the eggs are never "treated." . The fertility team can preserve eggs or sperm separately or together as embryos. I had no idea this even existed!

On this Friday afternoon, Dashing and I were not only facing my inevitable, upcoming chemotherapy treatments, but now faced with decisions on the future of our family, our ethical and religious beliefs, and the support of our family. So what did we do?????? I'll tell you........soon.


Sweet Simplicity said...

I bet you are so thankful that your primary care physician informed you of the option, regardless of what decision you all made. It is always nice to be informed.

Julie (Little Pink Rain Boots) said...

Thank goodness for modern science. I'm wishing you and your family all the best.

Love Lace said...

Thankful you had a physician that recommended you look at your options and make the best decision for you and your family. Anxious to read more of your story, you are always an inspiration.


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