Women with cancer risk freezing eggs

Fertility Center of San Antonio aiding women with new technology


The Fertility Center of San Antonio has thousands of eggs frozen in its offices, all put there for safekeeping by parents who need help starting or continuing their families.

Today, however, relatively new technology is opening up new possibilities for young women who want to "bank" their eggs.

Dr. Thomas Poole calls this "happy medicine."

"In the last four or five years, we have developed technology that we can freeze eggs, unfertilized eggs as opposed to embryos," said Poole.

Women like Staci Foster are taking advantage of these developments. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 31.

She underwent chemotherapy and radiation, which can compromise her reproductive capabilities.

Then she learned she tested positive for the BRCA gene, which means she remained at high risk of ovarian cancer as well and was advised to remove her ovaries.

Single and the mother of a 10-year-old boy, she turned to the Fertility Center.

"It was just a really good opportunity for me to be able to harvest some eggs and freeze them, just in case," said Foster.

She's not sure she will use the three eggs harvested, but feels assurance that she can.

Poole says she is part of a growing demographic..

"Fifteen percent of breast cancer patients are under 40, so that means 30,000 women a year are being diagnosed with it. If we don't have Mr. Right, it makes it very difficult. Now, we can freeze eggs before they undergo therapy," he explained.

He also says women who are not at cancer risk are also opting for the procedure, while waiting for Mr. Right.