Seven embryos frozen in Austin made the trip down I-35 to our San Antonio fertility center after Elizabeth Logsdon was cleared to start a family after cancer treatment.
The story begins after Elizabeth and Jason met and fell in love in San Antonio. They set off for Austin to tie the knot and start their family. To prepare for pregnancy, Elizabeth’s obgyn referred her to an endocrinologist for routine blood work. During the medical history interview the physician asked about swollen lymph nodes in her neck.
“What lumps?” Elizabeth remembers asking.
A specialist conducted further testing. An ultrasound revealed what the ENT said was “probably not good.” Then a biopsy confirmed everyone’s suspicions.
“I was at work,” says Elizabeth. “It was a Thursday morning when I got the call that I had Hodgkin lymphoma. I was devastated.” Things escalated quickly and first thing Friday morning Elizabeth found herself at the oncology practice of Beth Hellerstedt, M.D.
“I told her, ‘I can’t have cancer. I am going to have a baby.’” Dr. Hellerstedt sympathized with Elizabeth, but said: “No. This now; a baby later.”
Fortunately the oncologist picked up the phone and called Texas Fertility Center.
Still reeling from the cancer diagnosis, Elizabeth headed straight to our Austin fertility center to learn about the egg retrieval process. Cancer treatments needed to begin immediately, so there was no time to hesitate. She called her husband, overwhelmed by all of the information, and together they made the decision right then to proceed with fertility preservation.
Elizabeth started injections that night. TFC physicians were seeing Elizabeth after hours and on weekends to expedite the process. “It was a whirlwind, with lots of appointments to look at my ovaries and follicles, and then an egg retrieval.”
Four rounds of chemotherapy and two weeks of radiation progressed over the next six months.
The couple had cryopreserved seven embryos — two Day 5 mature embryos and five frozen on Day 3. Two years later, Elizabeth was finally clear to have the embryos transferred in an IVF cycle.
“I fought with my oncologist every time I saw her during that two-year wait,” laughs Elizabeth. “How about now? Now can I have my embryos?”
At the end of 2014, the couple moved back to San Antonio and Elizabeth had one more CAT scan. It was clean. Then she called our San Antonio fertility center and Dr. Summer James.
“Dr. James is lovely, I adore her,” says Elizabeth. “She is very professional.”
It took months for the conditions to be optimal for embryo implantation, but by November 2015 the results were in and Elizabeth and Jason called TFC. “We held hands, and then our nurse said congratulations. I cried! I couldn’t believe it!”
Chloe Jane was born that summer after a routine pregnancy; the couple plans to transfer the remaining two embryos after Elizabeth finishes breastfeeding.
When Elizabeth got the devastating news that it was cancer she says it was so much to take in.
“No one thinks they are going to get cancer at 32,” she says. “As for your fertility – they tell you maybe you’ll be fine. Or maybe the chemo will ruin everything. There’s just no way to predict how it will affect you in the long run. I definitely think it’s worth it to delay treatment for two or three weeks to be able to have a baby in the future.”
Photo credit: Amanda Raba Gentis with © ARG Photographs