On Monday morning, I glanced at Facebook and saw that RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association had just posted about Giuliana Rancic. I have been following Giuliana and Bill Rancic’s struggle to get pregnant, and my heart sank. I assumed that she had another miscarriage, or another failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. I was surprised, and even more concerned, when I read the details about Giuliana’s announcement.
Giuliana revealed on the Today show that she is in the early stages of breast cancer. She found this out after her fertility specialist urged her to get a mammogram before beginning her third attempt at IVF. I knew that this was not a diagnosis to take lightly. Breast cancer is devastating, for sure, but I knew what a breast cancer diagnosis would mean for her future attempts at pregnancy. Cancer treatment can destroy a woman’s eggs, leaving her completely and permanently infertile.
After her diagnosis, Giuliana remained optimistic and proceeded with her IVF cycle. She went ahead with the egg retrieval, and maintains hope that she will be able to conceive after cancer treatment. How will this be possible? Once her eggs are fertilized and frozen, she will be able to undergo IVF with frozen embryos in the future. IVF with frozen embryos is quite common. In 2009, fertility specialists performed over 10,000 IVF cycles with frozen embryos, helping many women conceive. Giuliana plans to continue on her quest for a baby when cancer treatment ends. She even credits her infertility journey for saving her life. Without her fertility specialist’s insistence, she would not have discovered the cancer at such an early stage.
I am sure Giuliana’s optimism will serve her well in coming months. I find it admirable that Giuliana and other celebrities speak out about their hardships. Their voices help to raise awareness for issues like breast cancer and infertility. Their stories provide hope, education, and inspiration for so many.
If you, like Giuliana, are trying to get pregnant and have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may still be able to conceive after treatment. But you must take advantage of fertility preservation options. To learn more, talk with a reproductive endocrinologist as soon as possible.
Attain Fertility recognizes National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Early detection and prompt treatment saves lives.
Britt Berg writes for Attain Fertility from her home office in Atlanta. A yoga enthusiast and mom of 3 girls, Britt is obsessed with all things related to fertility and pregnancy.