With the celebration of Mother’s Day on 21st of March, all mothers remember their journey to motherhood. While for the 30-year-old Emirati SA, the probability to bear her own child looked bleak after she was diagnosed with cancer.
However, she did not give up and visited several oncology centers overseas. Unfortunately, none of her eggs were preserved and with limited time for her chemotherapy she opted for ‘partial oophorectomy,’ for cryopreservation which reduced her ovarian reserve significantly with the occurrence of premature menopause. Not yielding any positive result, SA returned to her home country to consult experts regarding other treatment options.
After search for treatments, she contacted Fakih IVF Fertility Center, one of the leading infertility centers in the GCC, which believes with the proper counselling, diagnosis and treatment options, patients undergoing chemotherapy as part of their cancer treatments also stand a chance to conceive. In 2018, SA then visited Fakih IVF Fertility Center after several unsuccessful attempts left her feeling dejected and she almost lost hope about having her own baby. On application of a few natural and stimulation cycles, Dr. Dalia Abdelwahab, Specialist Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility at Fakih IVF, was able to retrieve two eggs which were fertilized by ICSI and two embryos were transferred, after which the journey to a successful pregnancy began.
Dr. Dalia said, “The counselling session for any patient diagnosed with cancer is imperative and should include disclosing all available options of cryopreservation, before suggesting cancer treatment, rather than simply risking fertility and let the couple suffer the consequence of infertility and an incomplete family longing for something more. Something or someone to solidify the family’s household.
She added: "During the treatment process I tried to absorb the psychological state that the patient was going through as much as possible and sought out to make her feel comfortable, as the psychological factor has a huge impact on the results during the process. With the presence of the latest assistive reproductive technologies in the center, we were able to succeed."
Chemotherapy leads to the killing of Oocytes, hence dramatically reduce reserve, quality of eggs, and uterus respectively. This can subsequently lead to loss of fertility and in certain cases women have reported going into premature or early menopause.
“I was aware that the chemotherapy I was undergoing was extremely strong and would severely decrease the quality of my eggs. After repeated cycles of the treatment, I felt that I had little to lose and did not give up on my chances at motherhood and live with the joy of a child. What made this journey even easier was Dr. Dalia who provided me with the appropriate consultation and put forward a variety of treatment options that work best with a case like mine. I wish every women seeking motherhood to make her dream come true” the patient said.
In cases similar to SA’s the most important step is the pre-treatment comprehensive counselling of the available options, for fertility preservation before starting chemotherapy. The stimulation of the ovaries should be undertaken to cryopreserved embryos/eggs, before any significant damage to the ovaries. Post-treatment special consideration must be taken to eliminate chances of any complications.
“The main concern is not only to achieve a positive pregnancy, but it is much more, we need to achieve a healthy successful pregnancy, delivery and avoid pregnancy related complications, and that is our goal at Fakih IVF,” Dr. Abdelwaheb said.
Fakih IVF Fertility Center is one of the leading Infertility, Gynecology, Obstetrics, Genetics and IVF centers in the GCC region with centers in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai. With several state-of-the-art technologies, the center is continually advancing in the field of reproductive medicine across the region.