This October, as Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes center stage, we are shedding light on the challenges confronting countless women worldwide in their battle against this disease. In addition to the physical and emotional struggles, breast cancer treatment can jeopardize a woman's fertility, adding complexity and substantial costs, often exceeding $15,000.
Breast cancer patients may consider egg freezing as a solution to preserve their fertility and family-building dreams. In this article, we'll explore why many survivors opt for egg freezing, explain the process, and discuss the potential costs involved.
Why Egg Freezing for Breast Cancer Survivors?
Breast cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can take a toll on a woman's reproductive system. These treatments might affect ovarian function and reduce the chances of natural conception in the future. For those diagnosed at a young age, during their prime reproductive years, it can be crucial to explore options for preserving fertility.
Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, offers a way to protect future family dreams. It involves collecting a woman's eggs, freezing them, and storing them for later use. This empowering technique enables breast cancer survivors to delay childbearing until after their treatment is completed and their health stabilizes. These frozen eggs can be thawed, fertilized through in vitro fertilization (IVF), and implanted when the time is right.
How Do Breast Cancer Survivors Freeze Their Eggs?
Let's break down the egg freezing process into a few steps:
* Ovarian Stimulation: To maximize egg retrieval, patients receive hormone medications to stimulate egg production in their ovaries.
* Egg Retrieval: Once the eggs reach maturity, a minor surgical procedure called egg retrieval is done under anesthesia to gather the eggs from the ovaries.
* Freezing: The harvested eggs are frozen using a rapid-freeze method called vitrification.
* Storage: These little treasures are then stored in specialized cryogenic facilities, safe and sound, until they're needed.
* Thawing and Fertilization: When the time is right, the eggs are thawed, fertilized with sperm through IVF, and the resulting embryos are lovingly transferred to the patient's uterus.
The Cost of Egg Freezing for Breast Cancer Survivors
Egg freezing provides hope and a pathway to motherhood for breast cancer survivors, but it is important to acknowledge the costs associated with this additional treatment. The cost of egg freezing in general varies depending on where you live, the clinic you choose, and your specific situation.
On average, one egg freezing cycle in the United States can range from $10,000 to $15,000, including medical fees, medications, and storage fees,. In addition, any future IVF procedures when you decide to use your frozen eggs will incur a cost.
These costs, on top of the cost of cancer treatment, may feel a little daunting. Fortunately, there are solutions like Sunfish working to make the cost of egg freezing more attainable for breast cancer survivors. Sunfish knows that for breast cancer patients, egg freezing is an investment in their future— a choice that shouldn’t be taken away from them.
To help, Sunfish connects people with a database of grants and discounts, as well as a marketplace of loan options for affording their egg freezing journey. In fact, anyone at OC Fertility looking for financial guidance on their fertility journey can schedule a complimentary consultation with a financial advocate here.
By lowering the financial hurdles that can often accompany fertility preservation, Sunfish is empowering breast cancer survivors to take control of their reproductive health and plan for their future family with greater peace of mind.
Breast cancer may present some daunting challenges, but egg freezing offers a beacon of hope. It allows breast cancer survivors to protect their ability to have future biological children and prioritize their health during treatment. While the cost of egg freezing can be significant, initiatives like Sunfish can make this great option more accessible. We hope to help breast cancer survivors embark on their journey to motherhood with the hope of a healthy and heartwarming future.