Preserving Fertility After A Breast Cancer Diagnosis
When I went through breast cancer treatment, I had another young survivor offer her support. It wasn’t until after I was done with treatment that I realized how comforting it was having someone who had shared my experience just a text away. As a result, I began mentoring newly diagnosed patients myself, and it was one patient in particular that became a driving force for starting Faith Through Fire.
She was in her early twenties and single. She had an aggressive form of breast cancer; her doctors were pushing her to start treatment. She wanted kids but couldn’t afford traditional IVF treatments to preserve her fertility. She held out hope that she’d be able to conceive after she finished treatment. Unfortunately, she was told by a fertility specialist later she would never have biological children. It was heartbreaking to take her call when she cried over the loss.
Now I know this didn’t have to happen. There are many organizations and foundations dedicated to helping women with the cost of fertility preservation. Unfortunately, neither she nor I knew that at the time. Additionally, in researching resources for Faith Through Fire, I came across the work of Dr. Sherman Silber. In meeting with Dr. Silber, he shared he can often preserve a woman’s fertility, and unlike IVF, it’s not medicalized conception. The process he’s referring to is ovarian tissue harvesting. He simply takes some of a woman’s ovarian tissue before her starting sterilizing chemotherapy and freezes it. He can do this quickly without delaying the start of treatment. When a woman determines she is ready to conceive, he transplants the tissue back, and hopefully, after a few months, she can conceive naturally.
Dr. Silber is one of the few providers offering this service, and regardless of whether a woman feels comfortable with the procedure, I feel firmly she has a right to know it exists. Take a look at the video of Dr. Silber below, and if you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the best way to preserve fertility, ask your provider about this procedure or reach out to Dr. Silber for a consult.