Do you fear that cancer has robbed you of your chance to become a parent? Don’t lose heart! With modern advances in assisted reproductive technology, you have more options than previous generations ever did.
The day that you learned about your cancer is forever etched in your mind. You may not have been able to grasp all the ramifications immediately, but as you thought about it, you came to realize that if you survived, the treatments for the disease would likely make you infertile.
For women, chemotherapy, radiation, and specific drugs can induce early menopause and destroy fertility. In the case of ovarian cancer, the disease often necessities a complete hysterectomy and the removal of other key parts of the reproductive system. Not only is the woman struggling with the reality of her life being in danger, but she faces the emotional pain of knowing that she can no longer bear children.
For men, cancer treatments can affect the testes, causing permanent damage. Sperm production may be sporadic or may cease altogether. It’s an emotionally devastating time for men, as they face permanent side effects of the treatment that saved their lives.
The Hope: Gestational Surrogacy and Cancer Survivors
That’s not the end of the story. If you’re a cancer survivor, you know that there’s always hope. Life is precious, and you want to start fresh with a family of your own or expand the family that you already have. With cryopreservation, egg or sperm donation, and gestational surrogacy, you can achieve that dream.
The Cryopreservation Option
In some cases, cancer patients may have a little time before they have to start treatments. They may have just enough time available to retrieve eggs or sperm for cryopreservation. Your oncologist and your reproductive endocrinologist will need to work together to help you preserve your hope of a future family.
If you pursue this fertility option, be sure that you and your partner meet with a lawyer specializing in assisted reproduction. You’ll need to draft and sign an agreement about what happens to the eggs, sperm, or embryos in the event of a separation, a divorce, or the death of one partner.
The Egg or Sperm Donation Option
If your doctor recommends immediate treatment to save your life, you may not have time to go through the process to preserve your fertility via cryopreservation. However, you can use an egg donor (or sperm donor) and your partner’s sperm (or egg) to create embryos, which can then be transplanted to a gestational surrogate to carry to term.
Surrogacy and Your Lawyer
Whether you preserve your own genetic material or use a donated genetic material, you’ll need a surrogate to carry your baby for you since your body is unable to do so after your cancer treatments. Your assisted reproduction lawyer can help you with this part of the process as well. There will be a lot of legal paperwork, forms, and documentation to handle, and with the emotional and financial stress of the process, you’ll need strong legal support so that you don’t have to deal with any extra worries.
Don’t wait another day! Take the first steps on your path to parenthood with the help of a fertility preservation agency and a good lawyer. Start investigating your options today.
About Nicole K. White
As a mother via gestational surrogacy, Nicole is passionate about helping her clients experience the joy and fulfillment of starting or growing a family of their own through third party reproduction. Her knowledge and experience as an attorney and as an intended parent mean she knows firsthand what you will go through and what you will need – understanding, ongoing support, guidance and a smooth process.