Few Young Women With Cancer Freeze Eggs to Preserve Fertility

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"This conversation needs to happen early during treatment decisions in order to have enough time to stimulate and retrieve the eggs before chemotherapy needs to start," said Litton. "There are certainly…some cases where it may not be appropriate as the treatment cannot wait the potential two- to six-week delay."

Dr. Natalie Cekleniak of Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science in New Jersey noted that many patients' families have said they feel that just knowing eggs were frozen has positively impacted the affected member by giving them hope and a reason to look forward to a brighter future. She even said some data has suggested that this type of thinking actually improves survival rates.

"The counseling is extremely important and is complex," said Cekleniak. "As a [reproductive endocronology and infertility Ob/Gyn], we explain what is involved in recruiting eggs and freezing them. They need to understand not only the potential side effects, but the possibility of poor response and the odds for success in the future when the eggs are thawed."

A few months after her egg retrieval, and while in the throes of her chemotherapy treatment, Pleva met her now fiancé, Kevin. While it is unclear whether she will be able to get pregnant naturally, a framed photo of her frozen eggs sit beside her bed.

"We're going to try and conceive naturally, but just in case, they're my insurance," she said.

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