For many intended parents, the path to surrogacy is paved with grief, loss and seemingly insurmountable hurdles. For some, one of those hurdles is gynecologic cancer.
A cancer diagnosis can be devastating, and when a hopeful parent learns that their cancer or treatment could impact their ability to have children naturally, they must deal with the added emotional challenges of overcoming infertility. And, because infertility is sometimes still considered a taboo subject, many patients don’t get the support or understanding they need as they grieve this loss.
September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month and, at American Surrogacy, we want to take the time to acknowledge the struggles that many women experience when faced with this illness — especially when they’re trying to have children.
If you are considering surrogacy as a result of infertility due to cancer, know that our specialists are always here to support you and answer any questions you may have. Surrogacy is not right for everyone, but it has offered hope to many women like you.
In honor of Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, here are five things everyone should know about cancer, infertility and their family-building options.
1. There are many types of gynecologic cancer.
“Gynecologic cancer” is a broad term that refers to cancer of the reproductive organs in women. There are many types of gynecologic cancer, including cancer of the cervix, ovaries, uterus, vagina and vulva.
2. All women are at risk.
Cancer does not discriminate. While a woman’s risk may increase with age, genetics and certain lifestyle factors, any woman can develop gynecological cancer. More than 90,000 women are diagnosed each year — in America, that’s one woman diagnosed every six minutes.
3. Women are often unaware of the signs and symptoms.
The symptoms of gynecologic cancer vary based on the type and stage of cancer. Early detection is key to treatment, so it is important to be proactive about your health. Learn the signs and symptoms of different types of gynecologic cancers, and be sure to attend routine screening appointments to catch any problems early on.
4. Gynecologic cancer doesn’t mean you can’t have children.
Not all gynecologic cancer will result in the loss of fertility. Depending on the specific type of cancer and the stage at which it is diagnosed, fertility preservation is sometimes possible.
However, even when treatment will impact a woman’s fertility, it doesn’t necessarily mean she cannot add a child to her family. She may have the option to preserve her eggs for later use in gestational surrogacy, or she may choose to use donated eggs to complete the surrogacy process. Other times, survivors pursue adoption or other another family-building option.
Of course, in these scenarios, it’s always important for women to grieve the loss of having a biological child or carrying a pregnancy themselves — but once you do work through these struggles, know that motherhood can still be an option for you.
If you are ready to begin your family-building process today, or if you would like to know more about using surrogacy to have a child after gynecologic cancer, call a surrogacy specialist today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).