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  • Writer's pictureTeri

Egg Freezing

On August 16th, I met with Dr. Andrew Toledo at The Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA) in Atlanta. We discussed the egg harvesting process and my options for having children that are biologically my own. In my case, my eggs would be frozen and used later with the help of a sperm donor and a surrogate. I, personally, have always been open to the idea of adopting as well as having biological children. So, I'll welcome raising children no matter which way they come to me. But, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to freeze my eggs so that I can still have the option of having biological children in the future.

Before I could start the egg harvesting process, there were a few preliminary things I needed to do. I worked with the business office at RBA to sort things out with my insurance, BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia. Because of my cancer diagnosis, what would typically be a procedure that is self-pay, is covered by my insurance -- so I'm grateful for that. I also had blood work done to determine what my protocol (what medications and how much to take) would be. And, through the help of the LIVESTRONG Foundation and their LIVESTRONG Navigation program, which helps patients navigate through cancer journey, I was able to get my medication for my egg harvesting protocol completely free. They partnered with Freedom Fertility Pharmacy to overnight my medication to me. I will be forever grateful for the help of Melody from LIVESTRONG and Linda Dangar, the Business Office Director at RBA for helping me expedite what would typically be a long administrative process.

The last thing I needed to do before starting my egg harvesting protocol was to get FDA tested. Because my eggs are intended to be fertilized and implanted in another body (not my own), I needed to get them FDA approved. This included blood work to be sent to the FDA and also answering a series of personally invasive questions (the kind you have to answer when you donate blood – which is actually what I’m used to doing). The process wasn’t too arduous. And, now I can say that I’m FDA approved!

On September 10th, I started my egg harvesting protocol. The protocol includes self-injections of 150 IU of Gonal-F, twice daily, for 5 days. This is to help stimulate my follicles. On the 6th day, I started coming into the RBA office for daily ultrasounds and blood work to monitor my progress. I then started adding another medication, Cetrotide, to the mix which, I believe, is supposed to help me from ovulating too soon (by this point, I’m just doing what I’m told to do and trusting the people taking care of me – oh and also getting tired of needles and stabbing myself).

On September 18th, I had my last ultrasound and blood test. That night, I took my trigger shot of Lupron, which is supposed to tell my body to start ovulating and also starts the 36 hour countdown to egg retrieval. Up to this point, all my ultrasound reports have came back positive – my body was responding well to the medications.

On September 20th, I had outpatient surgery at RBA to retrieve my eggs. Dr. Pavna Bhrama performed the procedure. She was able to retrieve 24 eggs of which 21 became mature enough to freeze. So, I have 21 frozen eggs! Hallelujah!

On October 2nd, I had my post op appointment with Dr. Andrew Toledo. We discussed our next steps with the first step being that I get through my cancer treatment. Once treatment is complete, we have the options of fertilizing the eggs with a sperm donor (by the way, that would be Erwin) and freezing the embryos and then searching for a surrogate. In the meantime, my eggs are in storage at RBA. Dr. Toledo was very pleased with the 21 eggs we were able to freeze. He says that it's good enough to start a family one day. According to him, typically 8-10 eggs are needed to successfully create 1 child. I have enough to potentially have 2, if not more!

Thanks to all the great people at RBA for helping me navigate through this process. And thanks to all my friends and family for your support during this time.

With love -- Teri


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