Hodgkins Lymphoma & Fertility

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Hi everyone, just wanted to seek advice as it’s been really tough lately! 
I’m 19 y/o (F), just finished first year of University, and I’ve just been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. My treatment is supposed to be 2 cycles of ABVD followed by 4 cycles of AVD (if the PET scan after the first 2 cycles indicates this is possible), otherwise 2 cycles of ABVD followed by 4 cycles of increased chemotherapy (the regime is yet to be discussed). I’ve been asked whether I want to go for egg freezing to preserve fertility and it’s been an incredibly hard decision to make! 

a bit of context - I do want children in the future I think but it’s all too far-fetched and hazy right now; this makes me think I ought to go for the fertility preservation process. The egg - preservation process would take two weeks and then another week of rest before I can begin chemo, which on the other hand, makes me worried if it’s delaying the process and I should get on with it. Given that my second year exams and just overall education could be hampered if the chemotherapy took longer, I’m really heartbroken because my studies and passion were my main reason to move here from a very humble family despite bulk academic costs! At the same time, because I’ve always been fond of children and I do know that I have a maternal instinct which makes me want a family in the future, I don’t want to regret anything about seven or eight years from now! Seems like a mountain load to consider for a Uni student, I’d never imagined this!  

This is really pressing on me and I keep second-guessing. If anyone’s willing to share their experience/opinion or just say anything at all, please feel free to, I’m more than grateful for any advice or thoughts! What are the chances of me conceiving if I didn’t freeze my eggs now? 

  • Hello  

    I'm really sorry to hear your diagnosis. I know two people who have had your cancer at similar ages, one female and one male. Both opted to freeze their eggs and their sperm. 15 years down the line for one of them and she's so happy she did and the male is 6 years down the line and his fiance is glad he did. It is worth considering that the option would have an effect on you and your partner/future partner.  

    Very difficult decision but I have only known two positives to come from freezing xx 

  • Hello  thanks for sharing this! I’m glad it worked out for them - definitely gives me something to think about! 

  • Hello,

    i wanted to reach out because i had the exact same diagnosis and initial chemo plan (ultimately i needed escalated beacopp after the ABVD) but i was never offered egg freezing, it was too late for me to try. i would really recommend you do it, if the drs thought it was too dangerous they wouldn't give you the option. Having the frozen eggs is better than not. I wish I had eggs frozen because children are important to my life plan and now thats in question because my chemo damaged my eggs and now all of that side of my life is in question. 

  • Ah I've only just seen this! Seems we were both diagnosed around the same time and follow a similar treatment plan except mine's reversed (just finished EscBEACOPDac and started ABVD). I opted to freeze my eggs for so many reasons. Yes it was a tough process of injecting every night and scans every 2 days, I did end up in A&E after it as I had intense pain (turns out my ovaries were enlarged after it which is completely normal). Do I regret it? Absolutely not one bit.

    At first I did think it was a bit crap that I had to do it. I was 22 with cancer and endometriosis and would probably be infertile after chemo. But really it's amazing that I had the chance to. Kids have never been a question to me but biological kids have. Given my endometriosis, I'd always thought about adoption. My partner and I had briefly discussed that if we don't succeed naturally then we probably wouldn't do IVF (financial and emotional reasons) and instead adopt. So it seems a bit unreal that I've been given the opportunity for free IVF. 

    I also think about how many people struggle to conceive and would love to have their fertility preservation or IVF on the NHS. I personally know a couple who had been refused IVF for years and have just been approved for one round and one round only.

    And I've met several other girls with cancer or who've had cancer and are gutted that they never got the chance to freeze their eggs. 

    To me it was a no brainer. I now think of my eggs as a safety blanket. If I use them, I use them. If I don't, I don't. I'd really like to use them one day but if not I can donate them. I'm not sure if another woman can use them due to the blood cancer diagnosis but they can be used for research which I find really cool as I work in health / genetic research. Whatever the outcome, I'm really grateful that I was given the choice to freeze my eggs as so many others aren't and it keeps my doors open for the future. There's no predicting how I'll feel in ten years. I could really want biological kids and be grateful for my past self doing this. 

    I'd love to know what you decided and how you're coping with treatment!