MedWatch Today: Breast cancer patient freezes eggs before starting cancer treatments

Med Watch Today

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be extremely overwhelming on its own, but when that diagnosis also decreases your chances of having a family down the road, that can add even more stress.

We met a woman in her mid-thirties. who was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few months ago, and she doesn’t have children yet. Her chemotherapy treatment could have ended all hope of family planning, but not anymore.

Though Lorena Porqueras has breast cancer, she doesn’t just see an oncologist, she also has appointments with fertility specialist Dr. Carolina Sueldo at the Women’s Specialty and Fertility Center on the Clovis Community Medical Center campus.

“I’m young, I haven’t gotten married yet, I do want children,” said Lorena.

Dr. Sueldo is board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. She said young cancer patients are now given the option to freeze their eggs before they undergo chemotherapy or radiation. Dr. Sueldo said it’s a discussion that wasn’t talked about in year’s past.

She stated, “We see time and time again, where they wish they would have known, they wish they would have had that conversation, and we’re then trying to kind of play catch up after the fact.”

Dr. Sueldo explains, cancer treatments can damage a woman’s eggs, therefore affecting her fertility.

“There may have been an impact to the ovaries, specifically to the egg reserve or the egg supply that may not be recouperable,” said Dr. Sueldo.

So Lorena, who is in her mid-thirties, decided to take control of her future, and created an insurance plan for herself.

Lorena said, “[I] started the fertility treatment which meant injecting, first taking pills, and then injecting my tummy for ten days.”

She underwent the egg retrieval process. “I actually got 29 mature eggs haha!” exclaimed Lorena.

All of those eggs brings Lorena one step closer to being a mother one day.

“The eggs would be unthawed, or they would be defrosted or thawed excuse me. At that point, they would be combined with a sperm to form embryos. They would be grown in the incubator approximately three to five days and watched during that process,” said Dr. Sueldo.

Dr. Sueldo said when Lorena is done with cancer treatments — healthy and ready to go — her embryos will then be transferred into her uterus. And, if all goes well, she may get pregnant. It’s hope that helps lorena fight through her breast cancer diagnosis.

“It’s amazing. I’m very grateful and blessed that I came here to  Clovis,” said Lorena.

It’s that faith that Dr. Sueldo wants all young cancer patients to have. She said it’s all about giving them options.

She said, “Before, we were a little more limited in terms of the options that we were able to offer, and I think this is something that’s really special in terms of looking ahead and giving hope for the future.”

Now lorena is focused more than ever to beat cancer, and be a mother one day.

“My eggs right now are here frozen, and each time I pass by I kinda wave and say, ‘Maybe we’ll meet in the future!'” ended Lorena.

Dr. Sueldo said there are other fertility options for patients prior to starting cancer treatment. Egg freezing is just one of them. For more information on the Women’s Specialty and Fertility Center, click here.

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