Why do you want to share your story?
I’d like to help other women who may find themselves in a similar situation so they know they are not alone. When my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer it was devastating and life-changing. Cancer treatment is grueling, and seeing her go through the process broke my heart. I was her primary caregiver throughout her treatment. After her diagnosis, genetic testing revealed that she had the BRCA1 gene mutation, which significantly increases the chances of breast cancer. It was recommended that I get tested, and we found that I had the gene mutation as well. We also learned that the BRCA1 gene mutation correlates with diminished ovarian reserves.

What was your infertility diagnosis?
While I did not receive a formal infertility diagnosis, I knew that I did not want my future children to have the cancer risks associated with the BRCA1 gene mutation. I also knew that my fertility was on a stricter biological clock with my genetic predisposition and that it would be best to start a family now.

What fertility treatment did you undergo?
My husband and I did a full IVF cycle and had the embryos genetically screened for the BRCA1 gene mutation. Only two of the seven embryos did not have the BRCA1 gene mutation. We did a single embryo transfer and were successful on our first try. For that, we are truly grateful.

What helped you get through treatment?
Seeing someone you love go through surgery and chemotherapy puts everything in perspective. What she was experiencing was much more challenging than what I was going through. I had to be strong for her and our family and vice versa. My sister’s fighting spirit, as well as my family’s support, helped me greatly to get through the treatment.

Can you tell us about your little miracle?
Our darling little Eera was born 09/06/2017. She is a fun, strong-willed and active little girl! She certainly keeps us busy and brings so much happiness to our lives.

Why did you trust Fertility Centers of Illinois?
While my sister was getting her cancer treatment planned, her doctors recommended Fertility Centers of Illinois for egg freezing. It was all such a blur, but during these conversations, I learned about genetic screening and the option to prevent passing BRCA1 gene mutation to my children.

Which physician treated you and what were your experiences with her?
We worked with Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron. She was very professional, but most importantly a big support throughout the treatment. We were fortunate to have such a compassionate and highly trained doctor to provide us with the best possible care and go above and beyond to make sure we had a positive experience throughout our treatment.

What words of hope do you have for others?
Knowledge is power! I encourage women to focus on their health and be proactive when it comes to knowing more about our bodies. Helpful educational and funding resources and services are available for many women, for example- Kevin J. Lederer Life Grant and Bright Pink that I personally found very helpful. When it comes to fertility or any other health conditions affecting fertility it can be challenging and overwhelming, but you are not alone and with advancements in medical science there is hope!

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Dr. Hirshfeld-Cytron and former patient, Sujata, talk about fertility and the BRCA gene.