Tomoko Morita had been married for three months when she found a lump the size of a marble in her breast. Just 31 years old at the time, she was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer.
Morita’s doctor warned her that the treatment she would need to undergo in order to fight the disease, including chemotherapy, may prevent her from being able to conceive. She expressed concern about her future with her husband and even considered divorce.
Her doctor then suggested oocyte cryopreservation, a procedure in which a woman’s eggs are frozen cryogenically.
“I thought my marriage was over, but I wanted children so badly,” Morita says. “I was clutching at straws.”
Morita had the tumor removed in March 2013 and was scheduled to receive chemotherapy a few months later. Her doctor introduced her to an egg bank and she was able to produce two healthy eggs in a single attempt.
“I was so relieved,” Morita says. “They were my insurance.”
Following the procedure, Morita endured six months of intense chemotherapy. She lost all of her hair and felt so sick she couldn’t get up in the days following the injection. She completed her final course of chemotherapy in October 2014 and began trying to conceive naturally.
She was immediately successful and is now eight months pregnant. “It truly was a miracle,” she says. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Morita is now 33 years old and is due to have her first child in August. In about another year’s time, she has to start a 10-year hormone treatment program that will likely make it very difficult for her to conceive again. She wants to have another child so she is contemplating what to do.
Morita might ultimately not use the two frozen eggs, but she says she has no regrets going through with the procedure in the first place.
“No one can guarantee your future and no one has the right to tell you whether or not you should freeze your eggs,” Morita says. “I hope that by sharing my story, both women who are in similar situations and those who are healthy learn about this option — because you never know if you are going to get sick.”
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