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Topic: Egg Freezing, is it worth it?

Forum: Young With Breast Cancer —

Connect with those under 40 who have been diagnosed.

Posted on: Dec 12, 2017 09:43AM - edited Dec 12, 2017 09:44AM by Zenmushroom

Zenmushroom wrote:

Hi there. I'm a 29 year old female, Stage I, Tumor Size 1.8cm. Grade 2. Her2 + Est + Proj -. Nothing in the lymphnodes. No other tumors.

So I haven't started chemo, but will be scheduled to do it about a month after my upcoming surgery: tentatively December 19th?

Doctors say I should consider fertility, egg-freezing treatment.

Found out it's really expensive. Over $10,000 for everything. I'm finding mixed information about the rates of success.

So far, all I've done is bloodwork and a vaginal ultrasound. Apparently I have 14 follicles per ovary (which I think is high)?

Some articles say my success rate would be less than 50%. But of course all the sites selling fertility treatments claim it's like 80-90%. With a less than 50% success rate for such an expensive procedure, is it worth it?

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Jan 3, 2018 09:11PM xtraordinary wrote:

Hi Zenmushroom,

I got diagnosed just after I turned 30. Too bad I waited and it became stage IIb with cancer cells in lymph nodes. I was 29 when I felt something was weird with my right nipple but I thought it was just aging process (and I was crazy busy with my work and wedding planning). Seriously, what kind of 20s-30s ladies think about getting breast cancer? -_-;

When I got diagnosed, I was a newly wed and my husband and I just moved from DC to MA. Because we don't make much money as recently graduated grad students, we received "Fertile Hope" grant for one IVF cycle. Although I spent 10K+ and lost most of my savings, I was happy that I did it because it gave me peace of mind while I was going through treatments. While I was getting radiation, my period came back. (According to Dana Farber Cancer Institute, females under 35 most likely get period back after chemo. 35 or over it's 50/50 or lower). After tamoxifen, I will try to get pregnant naturally. If it doesn't work, it's okay because I have my second option :-)

Because of your age, you will most likely be able to have your own babies after your treatments (and your prognosis looks good!). Have you asked your oncologist if you could suppress your ovaries (with lupron or zoladex)? That way your ovaries don't get damaged during chemo. I was too sick to even add lupron to my treatment plan, so I didn't get it. I was glad that I decided to freeze my eggs.

If you have money (even with the grant we spent $10k+ for ICSI and storage fee.. it was a little cheaper to save my fertilized embryos), IVF is not a bad option, but you should definitely look into the ovarian suppression option.

Hope this helps!


Dx @29/30 in 2015 as a newly wed & no kids. Still on tamoxifen!! Keep fighting! Dx 11/13/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)
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Jan 4, 2018 01:48PM Zenmushroom wrote:

Hey everyone. Just giving you an update of my situation. I have made a decision. I have decided not to do the fertility treatments and I'm happy about the decision. I realized that the whole thing would probably be 15K (including the drugs I'd have to take to try and get pregnant later). Of course there are grants and financial aid, so that amount could be reduced, but I'd still be looking at something like 7k assuming everything went well. After doing research, I found out in the BEST possible circumstances, my chances of getting pregnant with my frozen eggs would be 40%, and the average chance is somewhere around 33%. And even with the money aside, it's an additional headache I have to worry about when I'm already juggling so many doctor visits, and am trying to recover from surgery now. It's another circus in a 12 ring circus (taking more drugs, taking online classes to learn how to inject myself, etc).

Also, I'm lukewarm about having children. My desire to have children in the next five years is something like 30-40%. And my boyfriend feels the same. If I retain the ability to get pregnant, great, if not, it's not a big deal. And if I'm really regretting it, I'll just adopt.

So, I feel like this is the best decision for me.

Thanks everyone for your feedback.

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Jan 4, 2018 03:29PM - edited Jan 4, 2018 03:35PM by buttonsmachine


Hey Zenmushroom, I did not have egg freezing for a combination of reasons - many of the same reasons you stated actually. Sometimes I wish I had done it, but overall I'm ok with the fact that I didn't. It's a very personal decision.

I started out with a stage 1 diagnosis at 32, but then I had a local recurrence while on tamoxifen so I just started treatment again. Although my ovaries made it through chemo the first time, they said they probably wouldn't make it through the second time. For the recurrence there was just no time to do egg freezing. I've been making peace with the fact that I will probably never have biological children. Right now my own survival is most important to me, so I think I'm ok with it. Still, there is some mourning that for me that door is probably closed.

It is so unlikely that you will ever end up in my situation, but if you freeze your eggs you'll have that as a backup plan, no matter what else happens. As mentioned above, doing both egg freezing and ovarian suppression during chemo will help you maximize your chances to have a child. BCO has an excellent podcast on this here:

http://www.breastcancer.org/community/podcasts/ova...

For me it helped to ask: can I be happy in life without ever having children? For me the answer was yes. Hugs and best wishes to you in your decision.

Initial diagnosis at 32 years old. Chest wall resection 18 months later due to skin metastasis, probably from needle seeding during initial biopsy. Skin graft from right thigh! Dx 8/2016, IDC, Right, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/30/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 10/31/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/31/2017 Whole-breast Hormonal Therapy 4/30/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 9/2017, IDC, Right, Grade 3, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/31/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/26/2017 AC Dx 1/2018, IDC, Right, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/30/2018 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy Radiation Therapy 5/9/2018 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 6/30/2018 Zoladex (goserelin) Chemotherapy 6/30/2018 Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy 1/14/2019 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jan 4, 2018 03:48PM Zenmushroom wrote:

Can I be happy without children? My answer is also yes. My primary focus in my life is my writing. I think I'd get more depressed over some debilitating neuropathy in my hands or brain damage as a result of chemo, than the loss of my fertility. I also have a wonderful niece and nephew I can hang out with, if I ever get the urge to do kid stuff. And adoption is always an option, if I'm having regrets later in life.

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Feb 17, 2018 02:15PM - edited Feb 17, 2018 02:20PM by Linda7

There are different reasons why someone would end up in a forum titled "Is freezing eggs worth it?"


I'll share my personal experience and maybe that will help someone through their decision process.


I was diagnosed at 41 (Sept. 2014) with estrogen positive bc plus HER-2 positive, sizable tumor but no lymph involvement. I'll share with you the reasons why I didn't freeze my eggs and what I've learned since then, 3 1/2 years later.

I didn't freeze my eggs because...

1. I was scared. Scared that delaying chemo would make it spread to the lymphs or just simply keep growing. Oncologists told me from the get go that I might go into menopause as a result of chemotherapy but they don't educate you much on the specifics of fertility issues, at least that was my experience. So I was also afraid that the estrogen involved in stimulating the eggs would also cause the cancer to grow.

What I've learned since then...

They haven't found pregnancy to increase recurrences and the hormones involved in fertility treatments involve much less hormones, so the idea of getting "more cancer" when I already had cancer I think was more fear than science.


The process of stimulating ovulation to retrieve the eggs takes about three weeks maybe even less when you're premenopausal at least, I don't know otherwise. I was diagnosed Sept. 8, 2014 and started chemo Oct. 22, 2014, while I found the right hospital to treat me, I could have frozen my eggs. Which leads me to reason 2...


2. Besides being scared I had to figure out how I was going to take time off from work. I was running around getting all these scans and tests done while trying to choose the best oncologist and hospital. The less time I took off work, the more sick time I was reserving. So I prioritized my treatment. Makes sense, but now looking back: My boss was supportive and I think I've always been a bit of a workaholic, specially precancer, so I remember coming back to work after scanning my brain or a biopsy, because I was so concerned about getting my work done.

Looking back on that...

I should have just made time for it. Period. My fertility should have also been prioritized. I can't imagine it wouldn't have been something I couldn't somehow schedule.


3. I was told that because I was 41 there was 50% I would/wouldn't get my period back. Because I was scared and trying to balance the logistics/planning of my treatment I left it up to faith. In my heart, I felt I would be in the 50% that would get her period back because...my mother didn't start menopause until age 54, and my sisters at that time, 52 and 53, were not in menopause yet, and the reason women over 40 often don't get their period back is because they're closer to menopause, so I figured that wasn't me. Also I was extremely regular, like clockwork, I would know I was ovulating because I had that egg white like fluid coming out of me, very noticeably, every month. I couldn't even conceptualize myself as infertile.

Naive me. What I know now is that my treatment was very aggressive. I never got my period back. And that you can't leave something like this up to faith, you have to be proactive. "Help thyself and I shall help thee."


4. At the time these were my exact words "I am 41 years old, I have not prioritized having a family up to this point, I'm not about to delay my treatment". Of course, like I explained, I didn't realize that I wouldn't really be delaying treatment. But why did I say these words?

Now looking back I realize that the reason why I hadn't had children by 41 wasn't because I didn't WANT kids. In fact, looking back a lot of the decisions I made before age 41 had to do with GETTING to be at good place to have a child. In my heart, there was ALWAYS that little seed, though I was traveling and working on my career, there was a tiny part of me that was open to the possibility of kids.


5. I wasn't around babies much. LOL, but seriously all of my friends were career orientated like me. I have nieces and nephews, but they're older. Then two of my friends had babies, after I got cancer. Watching them go through their pregnancies and being around their babies while being in menopause caused by cancer treatment has been hard for me.


In conclusion, I personally wish I would have frozen my eggs because if I had I would have what cancer took from me: CHOICE. Cancer changed me, I see life differently now, and that desire to have my own children that I didn't feel very strongly about now is strong, and now I don't have options.


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Feb 22, 2018 11:20PM - edited Feb 22, 2018 11:45PM by Sophiemara

Hey, I was dx at 34 (no kids). I underwent Ivf prior to chemo, I had a month window that was it. I injected with hormones which sounds crazy but they are very low volumes, in fact they gave me something to counter the estrogen.

I ended up having 2 embryos put on ice and I'm really glad I did it, esp as it's 50/50 as to whether or not the reproductive system starts up again after chemo.

To be honest, I can't imagine my life without a child or family. I am ER+, but the research shows pregnancy doesn't induce recurrence, it's actually based on your dx stats. Obviously I don't want to risk my life either, but I'd been advised if I wait long enough then should technically beok. I plan to use them next year, which will mean interrupting hormone therapy after 3.5 years. I'm not prepared for cancer to take everything away, so for me it is worth it.

Dx 9/2015, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol) Surgery Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Latissimus dorsi flap; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap
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Jan 14, 2019 03:48PM bestrongforeveryone wrote:

I knew people freeze eggs and ending up with a healthy baby!! also heard about stories after 5 years treatment and medications cured from BC also had baby natually!! you have to feel comfortable about your decision, and the first priorty is now getting better! good luck

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Jan 14, 2019 05:23PM Salamandra wrote:

I just wanted to say the odds can be even worse. I went through freezing my eggs before this all started, coincidentally. Well, it turns out I had very low AMH levels with the result that no matter what, they couldn't get more than 4 eggs out of me per cycle, and it was more likely to be 2 eggs. I had to go many months and many many early morning treatments just to get 12 eggs frozen, which is less than they recommend. There's no guarantee that you can do a quick cycle and get a 'healthy' batch of 20+ eggs. Also with eggs, you have no way of knowing which ones even have a shot to turn into embryos. It's very different than someone with a partner freezing embryos.

I was lucky that I went somewhere that worked with me on the cost, but it was still really expensive.

At the time, I was dead certain I would want to at least try for biological children some day. Now, a few years later, I'm on the fence about children at all. I'm still paying for storage, but I think there's a good chance I'll never use them.

So basically, don't look back. It sounds like you made the best choice for you.

Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/17/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 12/2/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2019 Fareston (toremifene)
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Mar 11, 2019 01:45AM KC_may wrote:

I’m 35 diagnosed about three weeks ago. I’m struggling to make a decision as to freeze my eggs or not. I blessed to have one child but alway desired more. I’m ok with Freezing my eggs but the unsettling part is the injections and cost, even with the grant I would still be out of $4800 dollars. Also I feel like I don’t have time to start the egg freezing process. I don’t want to push back the chemo treatments. Everything is happening so fast. So many life changing decisions to make and feeling like I need to make the decisionsso quickly. Overwhelmed is under statement.
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Mar 11, 2019 07:12AM Salamandra wrote:

Hey KC_may,

Yeah, it's really a kind of whirlwind for the first couple of months.

I'll say I really don't think there's a right or wrong decision. Do what feels right to you in the moment and don't look back.

If you don't have the energy or motivation to do the process, that's a good enough reason not to do it.

If not doing it is giving you more anxiety than doing it, or if you know your heart longs for another biological child some day, that's a plenty good enough reason to do it. Get a friend to help you manage/plan the logistics of it and work with your doctor on the timing.

$4,800 is a lot of money for sure, but depending on your financial circumstances it may be a completely manageable amount of debt to carry and worth it for your future peace of mind, for not feeling unduly pressured.

If you can't spend money when you have cancer, when can you spend money? (That's what I told myself about a few things, and I haven't regretted any yet).

Heart

Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/17/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 12/2/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2019 Fareston (toremifene)

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