Fertility is a topic so many of those of us diagnosed before menopause have to struggle with.
This is what Adiba had to say:
I know many young women that are living with mbc that are longing to have a baby, and are scared and feel hopeless. I want to share how I did it in as few words as possible.
Having our baby boy while knowing that there’s only a 22% chance that I will live longer than 5 years and 11% chance that I will live longer than 10 years, was a very hard decision to make. It required numerous therapy hours and talks with loved ones.
For many people it may seem selfish but we don’t regret it even a bit. I had tried everything and failed to have a child for 15 years!! Despite all challenges I’ve endured in my life, not being able to have a child was my absolute biggest grief and broke my heart in a thousand pieces. When I got diagnosed with mbc in early 2015, we decided to retrieve eggs before they removed my ovaries and put me in artificial menopause. We got 3, fertilized them with my husband’s sperm and were lucky that they were all good grade embryos. We froze them for later. We used a reproductive endocrinology and fertility doctor as they are experts at helping cancer patients.
In the Fall of 2016 when I was responding really well to treatments we decided to hire a surrogacy agency @surrogate_parenting_services to help us find a surrogate, and to help with the whole process. Due to my cancer being hormone positive, I could never carry the child myself, it would kill me. It is very expensive but was worth every single dollar.
Long story short; our superhero surrogate Misha , that we are forever grateful to, came in to our lives a whole year after. In Feb 2018 we used 2 of the 3 embryos, it worked!!! Our baby boy was born on Oct 26, 2018 and we don’t regret a single second of bringing him to this world. He is by far my greatest love and I will do everything in my power to hang on to this life for him.
Pic: awesome photographer Christina Samuelson Portraits
Another young woman living with MBC is Trish Russo followed a similar path to have her son and made a documentary called, Love Always, Mom, which is available on Amazon Prime video. Every minute watched there helps generate funding for metastatic breast cancer research and a family-building grant!
I was able to watch the movie when it was screened at the Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Metastatic Conference in 2019 and stayed for the question and answer discussion with Trish, her husband and their son, Grayson, afterwards. Watching their process and their honest comments and tears and questions along the peaks and valleys of their rollercoaster hit everyone in the room and I doubt there was a dry eye by the end.
Families are made in many different ways. What Adiba and Trish and others in the MBC community have done is to look outside the box for options that fit their circumstances to achieve a dream, a hope, a goal. And yet, we cannot forget that for every one or two who have the funds to be able to achieve their dream in this way, there are many others who don’t. Having a child is such a personal thing and if you know someone with cancer who has had to give up that dream because of a lack of funds or other circumstances, be kind, ask questions, offer support. They are suffering.
And now you know more about building families while living with terminal cancer.