She also learned that she could take steps to protect her chances for having children after cancer treatment. Wendi’s surgical oncologist informed her of options that she didn’t know existed—freezing eggs and/or embryos and placing her ovaries into a temporary menopausal state.
Not every breast cancer patient is as fortunate. Wendi says she has met too many women in the chemotherapy room that weren’t told about fertility preservation and now they are sterile. “It’s heartbreaking,” she says. “Children add so much joy to your life.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Wendi wants women with a new breast cancer diagnosis to learn the facts about fertility preservation.
Before her breast cancer diagnosis, it didn’t occur to Wendi that chemotherapy agents and radiation could cause infertility.
“You never know what is going to happen,” she says. “Once you find the cancer, your doctor will not want to wait to start treatment. I’m so grateful to my surgical oncologist for telling me about fertility preservation. Otherwise, I would not have been able to have another child. I can’t imagine going through cancer only to learn that I can’t have a family.”
“Luckily I had a female surgical oncologist who was in her childbearing years. She knew how important it was to protect my chances for having children one day.”
Dr. Chung directed Wendi’s fertility preservation cycle, successfully freezing eight embryos. With Wendi in remission, Dr. Chung offered tips on optimizing natural fertility, and Wendi got pregnant the first month she tried. The couple had a little boy named Luke.
“We thought everything was wonderful; we probably weren’t going to need our frozen embryos.”
The cancer recurred. “I started a treatment course of brutal chemo and radiation that wrecked my ovaries. They were toast.”
Doctors told Wendi she could never have more children, but once back in remission, Wendi started to look for a surrogate and contacted USC Fertility again for help.
USC Fertility is experienced in surrogacy pregnancy. The Davenports found a surrogate, pursued IVF with the frozen embryos and ultimately celebrated the birth of their daughter Devin in November 2014.
“Dr. Chung was fabulous, throughout this journey,” says Wendi. “She understood how badly I wanted this, but would gently remind me that sometimes [the outcome] is out of our control. She kept us informed every step of the way, even helping address my husband’s concerns during the surrogacy process. She was always kind and empathetic.”
During Breast Cancer Awareness month, USC Fertility encourages women to share information about the forward-thinking option of fertility preservation. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, contact us for an expedited consultation.