Young cancer patients freezing eggs for future pregnancy

October 27, 2013 5:03:57 PM PDT
For women diagnosed with cancer-- freezing their eggs before treatment, so they can still have children later, is becoming more and more common. Unfortunately, it is expensive, but, there is a program that's helping patients make it happen.

"Sometimes I'd be at home and I would just start crying thinking about it," said Kimberly Meikle, a Breast Cancer Patient.

Thinking about how the cancer treatment that could save her life , could ruin her chance of becoming a mother.

Kimberly Miegle is getting chemo and which is why she needs to wear a mask when speaking to Eyewitness News. She has stage 2 breast cancer and is only 27-years-old.

"As a woman you never want to think I might not be able to have a child," she adds.

But chemotherapy and radiation can damage the DNA in a woman's eggs- making it hard to have a healthy pregnancy. Kim decided to freeze her eggs. The 2 week process involves 10 days of hormonal injections- then a procedure to remove the eggs.

"It's a quick 10, 15 minute procedure and they usually have a smooth recover for about a half hour and then go home the same day," said Dr. Jeff Wang, a fertility specialist at the Sher Institute.

In total the process costs about $10,000. But through a program called fertility rescue, the Sher fertility institute offers egg freezing at almost no cost to women with cancer.

They provide the medical care, the egg retrieval and the cost of storing the eggs for 2 years.

"If I had to pay for it on my own it would have taken me a few months to save up the money , I didn't have a few months," adds Kimberly.

For aggressive cancers, doctors may not want you to delay treatment and egg freezing may not be recommended for women with estrogen sensitive tumors.

There's some concern the hormone medication you need to mature the eggs may in fact feed the cancer and make it worse.

But the American Society of Clinical Oncology says doctors should discuss the option with patients and for the first time calls egg freezing a "standard practice" instead of experimental. Dr. Wang says technology keeps getting better but it's not perfect

"We are not at a stage where we can guarantee 100% success," he said.

Kim calls it her plan B.

"You never know what's going to happen in the future so why not be prepared," she adds.

Prepared to protect the possibility of a family.