Leaving a Legacy of Decreased Lifetime Cancer Risk
I was newly married when I learned about my BRCA1 mutation, after my mother’s Ovarian Cancer diagnosis. We planned to start a family, but after learning there is a 50/50 risk of passing the genetic mutation to each of my children, we decided on IVF with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) to transfer only embryos without my BRCA1 mutation. When I first posed about my decision, the internet had a lot to say, but not much to give in terms of a community understanding my experience. I navigated the medical world on my own to learn about how my BRCA1 mutation could be screened out using IVF with PGD. I connected with another young woman going through IVF at the same time for the same reason. Soon we became friends, sharing our journeys together. To help others, we created a support group online for others also undergoing IVF PGD forBRCA and hereditary cancer mutations and we both reached out to Sharsheret to volunteer.
The journey through IVF treatment is stressful and trying. I leaned on my friend for support through the treatment itself, miscarriage, and success. Today, I am a volunteer with Sharsheret because I believe I can support others through a process that no one should have to navigate alone. I help peers understand what the process may be like, and I provide emotional support at any point along the journey. It has been six years since learning about my BRCA1 mutation and I now have three beautiful children who do not carry my BRCA1 mutation. Leaving a legacy of decreased lifetime cancer risk is something that I am proud of and hope to share more awareness with others.
Photo Credit: Mitzvah Photography Annette Leibovitz