Fertility and Cancer
Team Maggie started in 2015. The Team Maggie charity came about because of the personal journey of Maggie Davis, a 24-year old young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer in Dec. 2013. One of the added burdens Maggie had to face, after receiving the devastating news that she had breast cancer was the possibility of becoming infertile because of the drugs prescribed for treatment. Having to find funding for harvesting and preserving eggs in such a short time for a young adult with no real savings or access to the money needed is burdensome. During this journey, the idea was born that there should be a resource available to help young women and men in their time of crises: thus Team Maggie, a 501(c) was created.
DID YOU KNOW?
Over 89,000 young adults are newly diagnosed with cancer every year. (NCI) This number has increasing nearly 20,000 in the last 5 years.
Some treatment options (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted and hormonal therapies) can directly or indirectly cause infertility. Some women don't realize that fertility has been affected until they try to have children and are not able to get pregnant. Talk To Your Oncologist Before Treatment about Your Fertility Options.
Research shows chemotherapy can cause infertility – Depleting the egg supply and putting young adults in to early menopause
There is a lack of cancer support resources available for preserving fertility.
When should you start fertility preservation?
The best option is to preserve fertility prior to cancer treatment when this is not an option the sooner after treatment as the Oncologist suggests would be the next best option. By harvesting eggs and banking sperm, this provides the opportunity to become a parent in the future or grow an existing family. In most cases insurance companies do not cover fertility preservation procedures which are costly.
What does preserving fertility (egg harvesting) mean, exactly?
The process of egg harvesting, involves stimulating the ovaries with hormones to produce multiple follicles, retrieving the eggs from the follicles and taking them to the lab, where they’re cooled to subzero temperatures to be thawed at a later date.
What is involved in Harvesting Eggs: The woman receives a daily round of hormone injections that stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple ovarian follicles. Each follicle should contain an egg. This stage involves frequent visits to the fertility clinic, while the ovaries are regularly monitored by vaginal ultrasound and daily estrogen levels are obtained. After roughly 10-14 days of hormone treatments, the eggs are retrieved.
The egg retrieval process takes about 10 - 20 minutes and is done under mild anesthesia or sedation. Using an ultrasound, the doctor guides a needle through the vagina wall to the ovarian follicle containing the egg. A suction device at the end of the needle removes the eggs from the follicles.
Resources for fertility preservation medications
H.E.A.R.T.BEAT Program through Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Walgreens will allow you to receive select fertility products for your fertility preservation treatment at no cost. (H.E.A.R.T BEAT)
LIVESTRONG Fertility helps bridge this gap by offering access to discounted fertility preservation services and free medications, giving survivors the chance to build a family. (LiveStrong)