PORTLAND -- Darcy Davidson, a Northeast Portland mom, appreciates every moment with her active toddler.
“She is the joy of our life. I can’t imagine being without her,” said Davidson.
Her daughter is here because Darcy had her eggs frozen at Oregon Reproductive Medicine when she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 25.
“It was one of my first questions. How is this going to effect the rest of my life if I have one?” she remembered. Darcy raised the fertility issue with her doctor on her own.
At Legacy Cancer Institute they’re now keeping track of whether doctors are educating patients.
“There’s nothing that grabs your heart more than somebody who didn’t hear about it and then survives. Then later on they think, 'I would love to have children,' but it’s not an option,” explained Dr. Nathalie Johnson.
Doctors should be telling cancer patients about preserving eggs or sperm based on what type of treatment they need.
“Patients who are going to get chemotherapy or patients who are going to receive pelvic radiation may be impacted,” said Dr. Johnson. With her diagnosis of stage 4 Lymphoma, Darcy had just one month to preserve her chance to be a mom. “When we retrieved the eggs we got three and we used them all,” she recalled.
The result was two-year-old Luna who is a reminder why doctors should discuss fertility options with cancer patients. National studies show 60 percent of physicians are doing so and a recent Legacy study showed Oregon doctors doing even better.
“We found with Legacy physicians it was over 60 percent and sometimes 70 percent of patients were offered information and felt good about their fertility options,” offered Dr. Johnson.
Freezing eggs or sperm is not covered by insurance. Darcy was able to get financial help from the group Fertile Hope.
“For me knowing that we had a future waiting was as big a part as saving my life as the medicine, thinking about the future for cancer patients is good medicine,” she concluded.