All Articles Tagged "fertility issues"

Ask Dr. Renee: How Does Having Breast Cancer Affect Fertility?

July 24th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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How Does Having Breast Cancer Affect Fertility?

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Breast cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. Unfortunately Black women are being diagnosed at younger ages. Black\women under the age of 40 are more likely to develop breast cancer than White women in the same age bracket. As if receiving a breast cancer diagnosis was not enough to worry about, now you have to worry about whether you will be able to ever have children once you become a survivor.

More than 11,000 women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year. How breast cancer treatment affects fertility depends largely on three factors: the type of treatment used, type and stage of the cancer at diagnosis, and the age of the patient.

Type of Treatment

If your breast cancer can be treated with surgery and radiation and no chemotherapy there is no affect on your fertility. The women that are treated with chemotherapy have a greater risk of developing premature ovarian failure or very early menopause. Cyclophosphamide, one of the most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer, has a 40-80% risk of causing women to develop ovarian failure.

Type and Stage of Cancer

The severity of the cancer upon detection, as well as what type of cancer it is, decide whether chemotherapy will be required to treat the disease. The more advanced the cancer is upon detection, increases the likelihood that chemotherapy will be the treatment of choice. Chemotherapy drugs affect the whole body, which is why there are so many side affects when taking these medications.  A small tumor with small nodes that are localized and have no threat of spreading (metastasizing) can be surgically removed and radiation administered to make certain they are all gone. Compared to invasive breast cancer which will require chemotherapy.

There are different types of breast cancer tumors, which will also dictate which treatment is best. Some tumors can be treated with hormone-containing drugs.  There are a small number of tumors that are “hormonally insensitive,” meaning you can not treat them with hormones so your only treatment option is chemotherapy.

Age of Patient

Age is a major factor in a woman’s fertility. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer and you are already 30 your fertility was already declining. Now, you add the fact that you are taking chemotherapy drugs and have to wait a few more years after you are medically cleared to try to get pregnant. Many times chemotherapy sends women close to 40 into menopause.

Preserving Fertility

Recently I talked about whether or not you “should freeze your eggs.” Many of those methods are recommended to patients who want to preserve their fertility until after they are cancer free. If you have a partner you could try invitro fertilization (IVF) where your partner’s sperm fertilizes your eggs and they freeze the embryos for transplantation into your uterus at a later date.

It is rare for men to get breast cancer, but it happens. Male breast cancer patients that undergo chemotherapy and want to preserve their fertility can freeze their sperm.

Tamoxifen, a drug traditionally used to prevent breast cancer reoccurrence, was recently found to stimulate ovaries in breast cancer survivors during an IVF cycle, enhancing both egg and embryo production. This extra boost can combat infertility barriers such as age and the diminishing ovarian reserves, which occurs naturally with aging.

When Can I Try To Conceive?

Women that are fertile after their breast cancer treatment are generally told to wait two years before trying to get pregnant. The most serious relapses occur in the first two years. During pregnancy the hormone levels are so high that it could possibly contribute to a growing cancer tumor, which is why it is so important to wait at least two years before trying.

Science has come a long way and is still doing lots of research to figure out how to preserve male and female fertility during breast cancer treatment. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer and you plan on having a family, I would recommend you have this discussion with your doctor immediately and ask for a recommendation for a reproductive endocrinologist. The oncologist and reproductive endocrinologist will have to work together to determine what is the best avenue for you to have a baby.


Source: Ask Dr. Renee

Source: Ask Dr. Renee


Dr. Renee Matthews has appeared on television shows such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and WGN’s “People to People”  where she discussed different health topics. She started her media career with her own radio show on Sirius XM/ReachMD, a programming source for health professionals. In addition Dr. Renee has been a featured medical correspondent on Sirius XM’s “Sway in the Morning.” 

Dr. Renee earned her undergraduate degree in 1999 and her Medical Doctorate in 2005. She spent the early part of her medical career as an educator for numerous hospitals and attending staff on cord blood. 

Twitter: @AskDrRenee

Kenya Moore Says Her Body Has Been Cleared For Baby Making: ‘I Hope To Share Some Great News Soon!’

March 21st, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Kenya Moore Says Her Body Has Been Cleared For Baby Making

Source: Instagram

It’s no secret that Kenya Moore has big dreams of becoming a mom someday. And according to a recent blog post, she’s hoping to conceive in the very near future. With whom she’s looking to go half on a baby with is a completely different story.

“I underwent fibroid surgery early this year and it was very successful,” Moore gushed in the blog post. “Thanks to my amazing doctor and my many blessings, physically, I’m in amazing condition for pregnancy. I hope to share some great news soon.”

During Sunday night’s episode, fans witnessed the former pageant queen’s eagerness to conceive first hand when she invited a few of the Housewives to a Shaman cleansing, which is believed to assist with fertility.

“You never know how your blessings will come or from whom,” she explained. “The Shamans have been known to bless many women with children after their spiritual cleansing. I brought the women who had been supportive of me in my endeavor to have a family.”

Kenya then went on to express why she chose to exclude some of the cast from the ceremony.

“I excluded Phaedra who cold heartedly remarked about me having ‘scrambled eggs’ and Porsha for consistently taunting me about the men in my life, which leads to a family.”

“With that said, I now see that NeNe’s snide remarks made me regret inviting her,” adds the 43-year-old reality star. “I’ve been more than generous with her, but I am too fed up with her to see any good in her. This was my honest attempt at revealing more of who I am and what my real struggles have been.”

Despite her displeasure with NeNe’s response to the ceremony, she says that it wasn’t a complete waste, as she was able to connect with some of the other ladies.

“I’m thankful that they all were able to share their stories on motherhood allowing us to understand each other more. It truly inspired me.”

Good luck, Kenya!

Oh? Kim Kardashian Says Khloe Wasn’t Trying To Have A Baby With Lamar Because ‘She Knew It Wasn’t Right’

January 24th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Sources: YouTube, WENN

Sources: YouTube, WENN

After years of the public being led to believe that Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom didn’t have children together because of Khloe’s fertility issues, her older sister, Kim, is now saying that there’s a lot more to that story. According to Kim, Khloe wasn’t really trying to have a baby with Lamar.

“For so long everyone in our family was feeling so sad for Khloe, thinking that she wasn’t getting pregnant and everyone around her was,” Kim told Jimmy Kimmel. “And the whole time she wasn’t trying [to get pregnant].”

Kim went on to say that in addition to Khloe’s marital woes, she wasn’t really ready to be a mother.

“She wasn’t showing up to these doctor appointments behind our backs on purpose, and she just knew it wasn’t right [to get pregnant at that time].”

Kim later released a statement regarding the comments she made on the show, insisting that people are twisting her words.

“I’m so tired of people twisting my words,” Kim tweeted. “Khloe did start fertility and she wanted to have a baby, but I believe in the middle of the process she realized timing wasn’t good based on what was going on with her relationship. She was not ready to tell us everything so she stopped treatment without telling us. “

We can’t really see how her words were being twisted, when she clearly said that Khloe “wasn’t trying.” However, considering how quickly their marriage unraveled, it’s probably best that the soon-to-be divorced couple never had children.

Kenya Moore Undergoes Surgery To Improve Her Chances Of Conceiving

January 6th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Kenya Moore

Source: Instagram

Last month many “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fans were shocked when Kenya Moore revealed her plans to become impregnated within a six-month period.

“I plan on having a baby next year,” the former pageant queen said. “Within the next six months, I hope to be pregnant.”

Though most would have assumed that Miss Moore planned on getting knocked up by her rich oil tycoon boyfriend, it turns out she plans on going the IVF route.

“I am going to do in vitro,” she continued. “I just have to figure out whose sp*rm to use!”

Well, it looks like Kenya is dead serious about this pregnant in 180 days thing. According to TMZ, this past Friday, the 42-year-old reality star underwent surgery to improve her chances of conceiving and carrying out a healthy, full-term pregnancy. Sources close to the situation say that Kenya had several fibroid tumors removed from her uterus. We also hear that she plans to star In vitro fertilization treatments as soon as she heals from her surgery. Kenya confirmed the surgery via Instagram.

“Thank you for all your well wishes and kind regards,” she posted to her Instagram page. “Letting my family and friends know I successfully underwent fibroid surgery as it was reported. Yes, I’m okay. No appetite yet. Excellent female doctors in Atlanta! #proudsisters #closertomydreams #Im not 43 yet!”

We wish you all the best, Kenya!

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

MN, M.D.: What’s Up With The Egg-Freezing Craze And When Should I Really Worry About Having Kids?

April 29th, 2013 - By Mercy Edionwe MD
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Q: Everywhere you look on TV women, even as young as their early 30s, are talking about freezing their eggs and worrying about fertility issues. Is there really an epidemic going on among women? How young is too young to be concerned about the possibility of having kids?

It does seem like there is an increased concern about having a baby nowadays.  Experts have seen a huge demand for fertility services, even though the number of infertility cases has been at a stable level over the years.  In other words, there is not an epidemic of women being infertile. So why does it seem so common now?  Well, it could be due to any of the following factors: a high demand of older women delaying having babies until later in life, the high publicity of technological advances seen in getting pregnant, and celebrities or high profile individuals opening up to the public about their fertility issues on television and/or other media outlets.

When it comes to infertility, it should actually be considered a medical condition involving a couple, rather than a single person (eg, the female).  In a study that looked at who is the culprit when a couple cannot get pregnant,  researchers noticed that 37% of the cases of infertility were due to the female, 8% just the male alone, and 35% were due to both male and female reproductive problems, while about 5% was unexplained.   This goes to show that the inability to get pregnant may not entirely be the woman’s fault!

About 80% -90% of couples can conceive within one year of having sex. Infertility typically becomes a concern when a couple has tried to have a baby after 12 months of sex without any use of contraceptives in women who are 35 years of age or younger.  For those who are older than 35 years, infertility issues come to mind when the couple fails to get pregnant after six months of sex without contraceptives.

Of course, there are certain risk factors that bring questions of infertility into play sooner rather than later. In women, we already know the higher your age, the less likely  you can become pregnant.  But also smoking, being overweight, problems with your menstrual cycle, fallopian tube issues (eg, due to previous history of STDs), endometriosis, or having fibroids decreases your chances of becoming pregnant.  In men, risk factors include having low viable sp*erm counts or the presence of any obstruction within their male genital anatomy.  There are also individuals who have been born infertile due to a genetic abnormality either directly or indirectly causing it.

The take home message is that there are many factors involved in being infertile.  In general, anyone can have fertility issues.  At birth, the doctors may already know if your child may have a condition that leads to infertility. But unless you have been given such a diagnosis as a child, I would not start to be concerned about the probability of not being able to conceive unless you have been desperately trying and have not been able to.

If you have tried for a year and did not use contraceptives during that time, you may want to talk to your doctor about this.  He or she can refer you to an infertility specialist who would do blood tests, physical exams, and image tests on you.  Your partner should also be tested, especially if you received a normal report.

Mercy EdionweDr. Mercy Edionwe is a physician specializing in internal medicine. She earned her medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and afterwards, completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. During her free time, she loves to write and educate the public on medical issues. She currently resides in Texas. You can follow her on Twitter at @fuchsiamd.

Disclaimer: The information contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader.  It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion between you and your physician.  Please consult your physician for further information in regards to your own general care.  Knowledge is power!  Be informed.

Parents By Any Means Necessary: Celebrities Who Used A Surrogate Mother To Have Babies

February 4th, 2013 - By Ashley Page
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Even the most well-known and liked celebrities in Hollywood have faced challenges like the rest of us. For some celebs it’s drug or alcohol addictions, for others it’s medical problems like fertility issues. However, troubles conceiving weren’t enough to stop these now celebrity parents from expanding their families. Here are 14 celebrities who used a surrogate to carry their baby for them.




Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance

For years Angela Bassett and her husband struggled to get pregnant and even after undergoing infertility treatment for seven years, the couple was still unable to conceive. But this didn’t stop them from starting a family of their own. In 2006, the proud parents welcomed fraternal twins named Slater and Bronwyn.