A young breast cancer survivor shares her brave tale of freezing her eggs so that she can bear her own children one day.
Melissa Yambao, 33, Breast Cancer Survivor
When Melissa Yambao was diagnosed with Stage 1A breast cancer in January 2015, the process of childbirth hadn’t even crossed her mind. The then 32-year-old was young and living life in the fast lane with a soaring financial career to match.
“When my oncologist, Dr Steven Tucker, raised the issue of fertility preservation whilst discussing my cancer treatment options, I shuddered at the thought of not having my own children. I immediately contacted Dr Ann Tan of the Women & Fetal Centre at Mount Elizabeth Hospital so I could get started on my egg freezing journey,” says Melissa.
What followed were several months of ultrasound scans and blood tests to determine where in her cycle Melissa was at. She also had to undergo daily hormone injections for ovary stimulation and take oral pills for hormone management as she was a cancer patient. Thereafter, two to three visits a week to Dr Ann’s clinic became the norm. Though the initial steps seem daunting, she says the actual egg harvesting procedure was a breeze.
“The whole process took about half an hour after which I was able to go home. I felt tender after the procedure and this was understandable, according to Dr Ann, as my ovaries blew up into a size of an orange (from a chestnut!) due to the number of eggs we were able to harvest. I was able to freeze around 10 eggs,” says Melissa.
Having gone through the procedure twice before undergoing chemotherapy, Melissa currently has 20 eggs frozen and is confident that this will increase her chances of having at least two babies if she is unable to bear children naturally.
“I have heard friends talk about feeling guilty when science interferes with the miraculous process of producing life, but medical procedures like egg freezing and IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) do not make this process any less miraculous. What these procedures aim to do is to give women the chance of experiencing motherhood,” Melissa counters.
Currently cancer-free, she feels that she has bounced back from cancer stronger than ever and has even taken up pole dancing as a way to stay positive through the tough knocks that life has thrown at her.
Here’s everything you need to know about egg freezing in Singapore: