With Aunt Flo saying hi this morning, I thought it would be fitting to do a throwback to a very personal decision I had to make a couple months ago.
Thinking about fertility preservation is not what most 25-year-olds have to do; but this January, when faced with the prospect of receiving even more chemo that would destroy more of my egg supply, suddenly my family and I realized that I may not have kids.
Whether I would even survive a bone marrow transplant or cancer itself aside, I had just weeks as I also waited for a match to go through the IVF cryopreservation process—if I even wanted to. So in reality, I had just days to make the decision with my parents:
A) Yes, freeze my eggs, knowing the following:
- Maryland passed a 2019 mandate declaring insurance must help cover the ~$14,000 procedure (excluding $500 annual storage fees, although there are programs like Livestrong that may help) for cancer patients to freeze eggs. I found out Aetna declined coverage for me after I made my decision;
- I may or may not use these eggs at some unforeseeable point in the future, and even if I do, chances of success are slim;
- The procedure itself has risks and is yet another “treatment” out of many: I would have to give myself injections daily for a week or so before having my eggs sucked out of me;
- I don’t even know if I want to give birth to kids, especially given my health history (I was considering the influence of genetics); and
- My parents would have higher hopes of having grandchildren.
B) No, skip the procedure, knowing the following:
- My egg supply will only continue to decline;
- I may become infertile or otherwise be unable to have kids of my own in the future;
- I may still be able to birth kids;
- I am open to adopting kids;
- I would not have to take on more risks, more fear, and potentially more heartbreak if it fails; and
- It would be a conscious decision made with the agreement of my loved ones.
Ultimately, it was a personal choice that came down to whether having my own kids was important to me. After several days of deliberation with my parents and Hsuan, we decided it would be best not to proceed with fertility preservation. After all, my mom and I thought that it would have only been another medical procedure that I would have to undergo, and the chances of it working were not promising.
Now, months later and after receiving more chemo and radiation, I remain content with my decision. While I cannot see myself having kids any time soon, seeing my menstrual cycle continue means that not all hope is lost.