New Fertility Treatment For Cancer Survivors

ByABC News via logo
August 25, 2005, 8:44 AM

Aug. 25, 2005 -- -- They met covering the war in Kosovo, fell in love covering the Concorde crash in Paris and in between Sept. 11 and the war in Afghanistan, ABC producer Tina Babarovic and cameraman Bartley Price managed to squeeze in a wedding.

But three months into the marriage, Babarovic was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It was the most gut-wrenching news I had ever received," Price said. "When you first hear the word cancer, you immediately think death."

Babarovic's cancer was the most common form -- invasive duct cancer -- and it was caught early. She had a mastectomy and the prognosis was good. But a year later, Babarovic was feeling the ripple effects of the cancer when she and Price tried to have a baby.

The fertility drug Babarovic needed to get pregnant was deemed too dangerous for her to use because it would increase her estrogen levels.

"The estrogen makes the cancer grow faster and become more advance," Dr. Kutluk Oktay said. "If you give these women standard fertility drugs, you might actually make their cancer worse, and make it even more advanced stage."

Babarovic's bad news came at the best possible time. Oktay had just developed a new fertility cocktail for breast cancer patients with low doses of follicle-stimulating hormone and a breast cancer-fighting drug called letrozole.

"I, of course, grilled him and I was very concerned," Babarovic said. "It's never been done before and what are the risks? And he looked at me and just said, 'You have to trust me. I have researched this and I think this will work.'"

The doctor was right. Babarovic became pregnant after her first in-vitro attempt and this past May, Alexandra arrived six weeks early.

Alexandra is only the second child in the world to be born thanks to the new fertility treatment.

"It's just amazing," said Price, who was working in Germany at the time of his daughter's birth and listened to the delivery over his cell phone. "This is our little girl coming into the world. This is everything -- the heartache, the pain, everything we'd been through -- come to this point. She'd arrived."