While the answer depends on each person’s unique health and medical needs, advanced fertility preservation methods provide miracles. According to the CDC, more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer annually in the U.S. In fact, a large portion are young people. The American Cancer Society reports that a staggering 80,000 of young Americans (ages 20 to 39) and between 5,000 and 6,000 adolescents (ages 15-19) face a cancer diagnosis every year.
With a cancer diagnosis at a young age, these people could be challenged with infertility caused by their cancer treatments or cancer itself later in life. It’s unfortunate that young people are forced to think about their fertility years — sometimes even decades — before they may want to have children. But just because one is diagnosed with cancer doesn’t mean they are unable to have children.
The key to maintaining fertility with a cancer diagnosis is planning. It’s important for those who have been diagnosed to know their options and make a plan accordingly — whether they know they want to have children in the near future, or are unsure but considering having a baby in the future.
Many people diagnosed with cancer who want to have babies in the near or far future don’t know much about fertility preservation. And that’s okay! Often, when one is diagnosed with any type of cancer, the doctor’s focus may be on treating cancer quickly, efficiently, and safely. Also, there sometimes can be a lack of resources to educate patients.
Mayo Clinic defines fertility preservation as the process by which one’s reproductive organs, health, and/or options are maintained throughout the treatment of cancer. Fertility preservation treatment is vital, as common treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, can damage reproductive organs.
It’s up to the patient to ask questions about growing their family. Can I have a baby, now or ever? Should I wait until I’m in remission to get pregnant? Do cancer treatments impact fertility? Don’t hesitate to ask early and have a thorough conversation with your doctor.
Keep reading for a snapshot of fertility preservation options.
Educating yourself about your fertility preservation options is the first step in your parenthood post-cancer diagnosis journey. While these are not all your choices, these are common options for cancer patients who are interested in undergoing fertility preservation.
John Hopkins Medicine predicts the chances of a person with a uterus under the age of 35 becoming pregnant and delivering is good, as over 95% of embryos that have been frozen make it safely through the thawing process. People with uteruses over the age of 35 may have a harder chance of remaining pregnant and delivering, but it’s not at all impossible.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine presents a surrogate (also called a gestational carrier) as another option in which a person with a uterus carries and delivers a baby for another couple or parent-to-be. People who wish to be parents but cannot carry a baby to term may explore this option. The eggs are not that of the surrogate. Instead, the eggs are often from the couple or parent-to-be through in vitro fertilization.
As you read through these options, you may feel a pang of anxiety thinking of how much these fertility treatments may cost. It’s hard to put a price on family and fulfilling your lifelong dreams of becoming a parent. So how do you afford fertility preservation if it’s potentially your other option to have kids?
Fortunately, financial grants are available for cancer patients wanting to pursue fertility preservation. We will work with you and your specific needs to provide support or point you in the right direction. Contact us directly to discover your financial support options.
Contact us if you need help or if you have any questions.We are always here to answer your questions and assist!