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Cancer Warriors Wednesday - Cancer Infertility and Hope

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was 50 years old and the mother of two. I've since met many cancer survivors who were diagnosed much younger than I. A huge part of their stories is the struggle with fertility issues after cancer. As my husband and I suffered two miscarriages and years of infertility before our first child was born, I relate to the fear of not knowing if you will ever be able to have a child. What I cannot even imagine is living with this fear and cancer at the same time. 

A resource I found for anyone struggling with this issue is Fertile Hope. A national, nonprofit organization, Fertile Hope's mission is to provide "reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility."  As a result of her own struggles with fertility after cancer, Lindsay Nohr Beck founded Fertile Hope in 2001. 

Fertile Hope is now working in tandem with LIVESTRONG to offer a powerful informational tool for survivors. The website offers information on risk factorsquestions to ask your doctor, fertility preservation, finding support, educational programs, funding for research, a fertility resource guide and financial assistance. All decisions must be made with your doctor, of course, but this is a great place to start for tons of information and support. 

It took my husband and I five years to have our first child. It would have taken less time if we had known how to ask the right questions and find the right doctor. Now, eighteen years later, my husband still calls her our miracle baby. The miracle of birth, notwithstanding, she would not be here today without the help of our very knowledgeable and compassionate infertility doctor.

There's one piece of advice I always give anyone new to the struggle of infertility: Don't wait another minute to find a fertility specialist to guide you through the process. If you need a doctor who specializes in infertility and reproductive medicine, start your search at Fertile Hope. For some of us, it's a Herculean struggle to bring a child into the world, but it's the most worthwhile thing I've ever done in my life.

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Comments

Rachel Pappas's picture

Debbie,
I too struggled with fertility issues. Miscarriages, tubal pregnancy, surgeries, you know, the whole drill as probably so many women who visit your site do. I too, ended up with one miracle baby - now 22 years old. And yes, I agree, don't wait to find a good doc and ask the questions! My girl "just happened" but I had scheduled the fertility consultation just before we found out. We went on to have more troubles after her and I am just thankful for her! It's clear you feel the same about yours.

Debbie's picture

Rachel:

Like going through cancer, you never forget going through the hell of infertility and miscarriages. I'm so glad to be on the other side, with my two miracle children. They are such a blessing (even when they are driving me crazy!)

Survival > Existence,

Debbie 

Beth L. Gainer's picture

Debbie, thank you for an excellent, informative posting. I was one of those who were diagnosed younger with breast cancer. I also was one of those rendered infertile by treatment. I want to add that another good option is adoption. I adopted my daughter, and I'm so grateful.

Debbie's picture

Beth:

Thank you so much for your comment and for bringing attention to adoption as another option for those struggling with infertility. For more information, readers can visit Fertile Hope's searchable database, which includes adoption agencies. I loved your piece on your daughter's first hockey game!

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

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