Week by Week: Weary Warriors Seek Pregnancy After Earlier Cancer Treatment

Dr. Jessica Kreeger was 13 when she was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent chemotherapy and radiation to treat the disease. After she went into remission, she worried about the long-term effects of her cancer treatment on her fertility. She was relieved to learn that she could still have children naturally, and she gave birth to her first child at age 25. But when she tried to have another child a few years later, she found out that her fertility had declined significantly. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), a condition that causes the ovaries to stop working before the age of 40. POI is a common side effect of cancer treatment, and it can make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant. Kreeger was devastated by the news, but she was determined to have another child. She underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF), a fertility treatment that involves fertilizing an egg in the laboratory and then implanting it in the uterus. After several rounds of IVF, she finally became pregnant and gave birth to her second child at age 35. Kreeger’s story is a reminder that cancer treatment can have a significant impact on fertility, but it is still possible to have children after cancer. There are a number of fertility treatments available, and many cancer survivors are able to have successful pregnancies. If you are a cancer survivor and are concerned about your fertility, talk to your doctor. There are a number of resources available to help you understand your options and make the best decision for you. Here are some tips for cancer survivors who are considering pregnancy: – Talk to your doctor about your fertility before you start cancer treatment. Your doctor can discuss the risks of infertility and recommend ways to protect your fertility. – Consider fertility preservation options. There are a number of fertility preservation options available, such as egg freezing and embryo freezing. These options can help you preserve your fertility so that you can have children after cancer treatment. – Be aware of the signs and symptoms of premature ovarian insufficiency. The signs and symptoms of POI can include irregular periods, hot flashes, and night sweats. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. – Don’t give up hope. Even if you are diagnosed with POI, there are still options available to you. IVF can help you get pregnant, and there are a number of other fertility treatments that may be available to you. Cancer treatment can be a difficult experience, but it is important to remember that there is hope for the future. With the right care and support, you can overcome the challenges of infertility and have a successful pregnancy..

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