**I don’t want any ‘genetic engineering’ claims. If you’re close-minded or going to claim that I’m ‘playing God’, don’t read on. I share my story and all the information I learn in the hopes of helping others, I do NOT share to get unwanted opinions from strangers**
From the time I could talk and walk, all I wanted to do was be a mother. I played house with my sister, brother, and best friends for hours and hours.
The thought of not being able to have children devastates me. It’s a possibility, too, if one of my CA125 tests or ultrasounds comes back abnormal, so the only way to guarantee this happens is to freeze eggs. Adoption is always an option, one I plan on utilizing, but selfishly, I want to experience pregnancy and childbirth.
So I mentioned last week that I was seeing a gynecological oncologist to talk about future surgeries. He and I agreed that removal of my ovaries now would be detrimental to my health. The hormones they produce are needed to fight off heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. Recent studies have shown that 60-100% of ovarian cancers start in the fallopian tubes, which you do NOT need. New technology is also available to look at an embryo and see if it carries this gene mutation (which I would want to do. This gene stops with me. If I have to ability to save my children from future surgeries, I’m going to). So since I don’t plan on naturally conceiving children anyway, and I can eliminate the chance of ovarian cancer by 60-100%, I am looking into a salpingectomy. I just got off the phone with my insurance company, and the procedure is covered at 100%. Of course I’ll still need the ovaries out eventually, but when their risk is more than the benefit, and I’m not there yet, nor do I want to go into menopause at 20 years old.
So- freezing eggs. I met with a reproductive endocrinologist today at the suggestion of the gyno oncologist. She was amazed by me and was familiar with my story and family history. She applauded the decisions I’ve made thus far and will continue to make. She asked me what I wanted before telling me what she thought I should do (no other doctor has asked me that before). And I told her. She then told me what she could do for me, reduce the price of the procedure by 50% and write letters to foundations across the country to see if I could get the medications covered as well. She told me if they wouldn’t cover it, she would. She was so proud of the steps I’ve taken and my determination not to pass this gene along. Then we had to discuss the start date. I wanted to do it this summer before school starts, but I go out of town at the end of this month which left us with the option to start….right now. Today.
So they whisked me away for a trans-vaginal ultrasound (uck) and bloodwork (Fun fact- I have ‘robust’ ovaries). I learned the steps to take when giving myself the fertility drugs and when to come back. I get to give myself shots in the stomach for the next two weeks, then when I’m done with that, I get a needle shoved up my vagina. Oh, and I come in every 3 days for more blood and ultrasounds. After that my future kids get frozen in an egg bank, and I wait until I’m married and ready to have children. When I am ready, they take my future husband’s sperm and fertilize the egg. When it’s an embryo, they can look at the DNA sequence to see which embryos have the mutation and which do not. They will plant the ones that do not in my uterus and then we hope that it takes. It’s quite the process. Despite the discount and the free meds, it’s still $5,000 out of pocket for the retrieval and freezing and then another $5,000 for the IVF when I’m ready for that.
I went to the car after 2 hours in the office and started to cry. Literally 30 seconds after shutting the door, I got a call from my dad. He had some sort of spidey-sense that we needed to talk. I answered and immediately let the tears flow, I overwhelmed him with information and emotions. He’s so proud though, and that makes me proud. He knows this is what’s right for me. He told me that it’s a parent’s job to enable dreams, and he knows that being a mother is mine. “If I have to write a $5,000 check to make your dream come true, Kelly, I’ll do it today”. So that’s what we’re doing. I start the shots tonight, in half an hour actually. I go back on Friday for an ultrasound and more bloodwork, and I repeat this shots/ultrasound/bloodwork routine for 2 weeks until the egg retrieval.
This whole thing sucks. It really does. I’m a 20 year old starting the process of IVF. I don’t worry at all about having to explain my mastectomy to a future spouse, but this? This is a whole different story. At least I’ll know that whomever I end up with really wants to be with me if he’s willing to put up with all this shit.
There is not a single doubt in my mind that it’ll be worth it. My children won’t be carriers or have to go through these surgeries. They won’t have to make the decisions I’m having to make right now. This is one of the greatest gifts I can give them. They will always know that they were wanted, and their mother fought like hell for them.