I had childhood cancer at 3.5 years old and relapsed at 5.5. I had high doses of radiation and chemotherapy.
One of the unspoken long-term effects of cancer treatments is infertility. I was referred to a fertility specialist at 16 years old. Health care professionals suspected I may have fertility problems as a consequence of my childhood cancer treatments. They did blood work which showed an extremely low AMH of 0.6. I was told to monitor these bloods, but it is likely I will have trouble conceiving naturally. Fertility specialists predicted I am likely to go into premature ovarian failure due to my low AMH. This could be next week, next year, or in 20 years' time- there’s no way to tell. If/when this happens, I will not be able to do anything about it.
I was told the only option to preserve my fertility would be to freeze my eggs. I was told I did not meet the public criteria to get funded treatment- this is due to the fact I do not want to have a baby right now. At the age of 18, while still in high school, I underwent my first cycle of IVF. My friends were deciding what to wear to parties while I was going through IVF.
I am fortunate enough to have been in the position to undergo IVF in the hope of freezing eggs. I’ve had multiple failed cycles and 3 ‘successful’ cycles. The most follicles I would have grown in a cycle were 4-5. This is a small number; however, it was a win for me. If I was not fortunate to be able to privately fund these IVF cycles then I would have no frozen eggs. If I wanted to try for a baby now, then I would be eligible for public funding. There needs to be a better system for funding. Women should not have to put a price on having the choice of having a baby.