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Fertility preservation b4 treatment OR IVF after 2 years of treatment?

Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2014

My husband and I are having a very difficult decision to make: To harvest eggs and freeze embryos before radiation and tamoxifen treatment; Or to do IVF after two year's of tamoxifen and restart on tamoxifen after giving birth. Hope to hear what you think, especially if you have similar experiences. 

So here are my stories: I am 35 years old. During the last six years, I had four failed pregnancies, with fetus having chromosomal abnormality. Now the safest way for us to have a healthy baby is probably IVF. When I was getting ready to do IVF, I was diagnosed with stage 1a Left breast invasive mucinous carcinoma (Estrogen: positive; Progesterone: positive, Her2eu- protein, negative). I recently had lumpectomy and everything went well. No lymph node was involved. Since my oncotype score is low (11), the medical oncologist does not recommend chemo.

Now I will start radiation pretty soon.  To preserve my fertility, I can have my eggs harvested and fertilized now, then freeze some embryos for IVF later. Ideally, the time would be after five years treatment on tamoxifen. Since the eggs are harvested and fertilized when I am 35 years old, the success rate won't drop dramatically even when I transplant the embryos at the age of 40.  The fertility specialist feels ok with this plan. However, the medical oncologist does not feel safe enough for me to do the egg harvesting at this point. I do not need to have chemo, radiation won't affect my fertility. He is more comfortable to let me do IVF after radiation and two years of tamoxifen, then stop the drug, get pregnant, restart on tamoxifen after giving birth.  

So really hope we can get some wisdom from you.


New Flower
Posts: 4299
Joined: Aug 2009

 I understand that in order to harvest you need to produce more than one egg, women is stimulated and hormones are involved your oncologist is concern as your cancer is estrogen positive. Please ask you oncologist additional questions to feel comfortable with your decision 

good luck 

Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2014

5 years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30, I had just gotten married.  I harvested my eggs because the docs weren't sure if the chemo would comprise my body.  After chemo, I went on tamoxifen for 2 years.  I went off of it for 6 months and then tried naturally to have a baby.  Luckily, I was able to.  I had a healthy baby boy last April and went back on the tamoxifen.  

I wish you the best on your journey.  There are so many difficult decisions, but your oncologist is probably the best person to answer all of your questions.



Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

Personally, if I were in that situation, I would listen to my oncologist. I would not want to risk having cancer return. But not everyone wants to go to the extremes to prevent a recurrence.

I would be concerned with a fertility dr. who is willing to go ahead with IVF in the future, if I had an ER/PR positive cancer. If my fertility dr. went against the wishes of my oncologist, I would fire them. I would not let a dr. put my life at risk like that. But that is just me. 

I would evaluate what the oncologist tells me (and I would tell the oncologist what fertility dr. is saying to me), evaluate the fertility dr. (perhaps have the oncologist and fertility dr. speak to each other) and weigh the consequence of each's recommendations. 

You certainly have a difficult situation there. I hope you can find an answer that you can live with. Nothing regarding cancer is ever easy.

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

..  what about getting a 2nd opinion from another Oncologist ?  Just my humble suggestion.


Vicki SamEmbarassed

Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2014

I really appreciate all of your help! I agree that I don't want to risk my life for a baby. If I cannot be with this baby for a very long time, what's the point of risking my life? Yeah, when the oncologist said he did not feel safe, I felt hesitated to go ahead with the egg havesting. Since I do not need to have chemo, the radiation and anti-hormone treatment will not compromise my fertility. The oncologist recommended I complete radiation treatment and then take tamoxifen for two years. After that, he feels more comfortable to let me do IVF. Egg Havesting is more common for those who have to do chemo since chemo may harm fertility. 

I discussed this plan with the fertility dr. He feels OK with this plan. Although my biological clock is ticking, I still have some time even after two years of taking tamoxifen. I am happy that the docotrs agree with each other! Thank you!



carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

ask about the new drug out that is supposed to preserve fertility during chemo.

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