Can­cer kids put baby

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - MIRANDA DEVINE -

TEENAGE can­cer pa­tients are hav­ing their ovaries and sperm frozen so the treat­ment that saves their lives doesn’t ruin their chances of hav­ing chil­dren.

Hav­ing a baby is one of the last things on a teenager’s mind when faced with a di­ag­no­sis of can­cer but fer­til­ity preser­va­tion is now of­fered to young peo­ple, in­clud­ing chil­dren, through the Fer­til­ity Re­search Cen­tre in Syd­ney.

On­col­o­gist and Can­Teen fer­til­ity ex­pert Dr An­toinette Ana­zodo said her unit, unique in NSW, must move fast to pre­serve fer­til­ity in the face of a can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

“Ninety one per cent of our pa­tients are seen by a fer­til­ity ex­pert within 24 hours (of a can­cer diag- no­sis),” Dr Ana­zodo said. “Our youngest pa­tient is 12, but now we need time for th­ese chil­dren to even­tu­ally come back ack and use the tis­sue.”

At age 15, Jenna nna Golub was coun­selled by Dr Ana­zodo and her team as soon as she was di­ag­nosed with Hodgkin’s lym­phoma. Within a week, Jenna had her ovar­ian tis­sue pre­served and then she started chemo.

“I trusted that Dr Ana­zodo knew what would be best for me in the long run, so I just did it,” she said. The now 19-year-old from Shell­har­bour is in re­mis­sion but went into menopause dur­ing her HSC. Now she is very grate­ful she took that ad­vice. “I did go into menopause so I’m very glad I lis­tened be­cause I’ve al­ways loved ba­bies and it’s some­thing I’ve al­ways wanted,” Ms Golub said.

Gor­geous one-year-old Char­bel Tadros has been 10 years in the mak­ing.

The egg that be­came him was in­side part of an ovary that was sur­gi­cally re­moved and frozen be­fore his mother went into a bat­tle for her life. Giselle Tadros was just 21 when she sh was di­ag­nosed with stage four Hodgkin’s kin lym­phoma. Be­fore B in­tense chemo­ther­apy started, it was sug­gested she safe­guard her fer­til­ity, which would be de­stroyed d by treat­ment. tre “They “T took a third of my ovary o tis­sue and pre­served it and then hit with me with in­tense chemo,” the now-31-year-old from Pen­rith said.

Af­ter a year of treat­ment she re­lapsed and needed a bone-mar­row trans­plant, which also car­ries a high risk of fer­til­ity dam­age.

It left her per­ilously thin but it cured her and she went on to marry her sweet­heart Ja­son Tadros in 2014.

When thoughts turned to fam­ily, her pre­served ovar­ian tis­sue was grafted back on to her ovary by a pi­o­neer in the field, As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Kate Stern from Mel­bourne IVF. Dr Ana­zodo’s unit had not started then.

“It took five

I did go into menopause so I'm very glad I lis­tened be­cause I've al­ways loved ba­bies and it's some­thing I've al­ways wanted JENNA GOLUB

rounds of IVF be­fore our beau­ti­ful lit­tle mir­a­cle boy was born on the 23rd of Oc­to­ber, 2017,” the proud mum said.

“There is now wide­spread ac­knowl­edg­ment of the im­por­tance to dis­cuss fer­til­ity preser­va­tion with pa­tients, and it’s no longer ex­per­i­men­tal with 140 births around the world so far,” Prof Stern said.

For pre­pubescent boys and girls, ovar­ian cry­op­reser­va­tion and tes­tic­u­lar tis­sue are taken for fu­ture grafts. Eggs and sperm are col­lected in pubescent chil­dren and young adults. Sadly, oth­ers have missed the chance.

Kait­lyn O’Kane was just 13 when she was di­ag­nosed with brain can­cer. She was of­fered the same op­por­tu­nity to freeze her ovar­ian tis­sue but the con­cept over­whelmed her at the time. Last year, at age 21, she found the gru­elling chemo had not only left her with per­ma­nent hair loss but she was in­fer­tile.

“I had a break­down and se­vere panic at­tacks, I’m all right now, but it broke me,” Ms O’Kane said.

Can­Teen Aus­tralia is cam­paign­ing to in­crease aware­ness of this is­sue, which will be high­lighted at the An­nual Global Ado­les­cent and Young Adult Can­cer Con­gress in Syd­ney from 4-6 De­cem­ber.

Kait­lyn O’Kane with boyfriend Josh Manderson.

Dr An­tionette Ana­zodo.

Jenna Golub

Giselle Tadros was only able to have baby Char­bel thanks to hav­ing part of her ovary frozen be­fore her can­cer treat­ment. Pic­ture: Sam Rut­tyn

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