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Fertility Preservation: It’s a Small World After All

Recently I dipped my foot into the real estate market and began looking for a place we could call home. I followed all the steps that most anyone else would: I hooked up with a real estate agent (*Todd), I began scouring all the listings in my price range and after a few visits to “the house” I sent a text to Todd and said, “I’m ready to make an offer.” Within an hour, he was at my door and ready to draw up a contract.

We sat down at the table and began to fill out the contract making idle chit chat along the way. He asked me what I did for a living and it dawned on me that over all this time, I had never shared my occupation with him.  It seemed kind of strange that this was the first time it had ever come up. “I work at the Oncofertility Consortium at Northwestern University.” He gave me sort of a strange, but knowing look and I told him that oncofertility was essentially fertility preservation for young cancer patients.  Well little did I know that we had more than real estate to talk about…

Without going into the play by play of our entire conversation, I’ll give you the abbreviated version: Todd was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 18, he underwent fertility preservation before he began treatment for his cancer, and now in his mid 30s, he and his wife have two children through ART with the help of our own Dr. Kazer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Small world!

Todd shared with me the awkward moment when his oncologist at Elmhurst Hospital discussed fertility preservation with him shortly after diagnosis while he sat there next to his mother. “I would have said yes to anything she asked just as long as she stopped discussing this with me in front of my mother!”  Ultimately though, at 18 years of age, Todd made the decision on his own (albeit out of a sense of urgency to quickly move on to the next topic) to bank sperm and preserve his future fertility.

Luckily for Todd, he had known his wife since his cancer diagnosis so she knew right off the bat what it would take for them to have children someday, and she was onboard.  Fast forward 15 + years later and Todd has a three year old and a one year old that he never could have imagined at 18 would be so intrinsic in his life and in his marriage.  “I’m so glad I did that, that someone talked to me about it and gave me options because you’re not thinking about it in that moment.” Maybe Todd wasn’t, but thankfully for him, someone else was.

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