Fertility and Breast Cancer
- Breast cancer survivor and ‘TODAY’ co-anchor Hoda Kotb, 58, gushes over ‘PEOPLE’ magazine cover on her family life.
- Kotb is navigating life with two adopted daughters Haley, 5, and Hope, 3, after breaking up with fiancé Joel Schiffman, 64, last year.
- The network news star first became a mother through adoption in 2017 at age 52, after a breast cancer battle and a subsequent divorce.
- Kotb was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and underwent a double mastectomy.
- When it comes to breast cancer patients specifically, there are some unique fertility challenges for women with the disease.
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Kotb first became a mother through adoption in 2017 at age 52, after a breast cancer battle and a subsequent divorce.
She assumed motherhood wasn’t going to happen in her life. But the PEOPLE magazine cover shows just the opposite.
It features a picture of Kotb with her daughters Haley and Hope on her lap with the words “Finding bliss in the chaos! The TODAY host opens up about making a happy (sometimes messy!) home with Haley, 5, and Hope, 3, and co-parenting with her ex.”
Kotb and Schiffman broke up with in December 2021.
“We share these beautiful daughters – lucky us!” she’s quoted as saying.
In the article, Kotb talks about her early morning routing with the girls, calling it “strangely perfect.”
“Every morning I leave them a note and a map to find the note. I draw cartoons, and then I hide it so they see it before they go to school,” she says.
“Then a lot of the time I’m done with work and can pick them up in the afternoon. We’re eating dinner at 5, in the bath by 6, drying off at 6:30, in the room singing all their songs. It’s over, lights out, click, at 7, and I’m usually out by 7:30 because I have to get up at 3 a.m.”
Kotb also looked ahead to what it will be like when the girls get older.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do when they’re teenagers, but I’ve been digging this weird time for us. I’m on a child’s schedule!” she said.
Kotb has had to learn to live every moment since her cancer diagnosis, and since becoming a mom.
“I always imagined family as my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister,” she explains. “I envisioned it that way until I was 50. Imagine someone saying, ‘Hey, guess what? You’re actually going to have a whole other family.’”
The journalist and network morning new anchor says having her own family later in life is everything.
“It still surprises me! It delights me to know that I have Haley and Hope.”
Kotb revealed last year that her plans to adopt a third child were delayed by the pandemic, she says she is still open to expanding her family.
Fertility and Cancer Treatment
Infertility can be a side effect of some cancer treatments, but there are options to consider. Fertility preservation, for example, is available to women of childbearing age. Options for women include:
- Egg and embryo freezing (the most common practice)
- Ovarian tissue freezing
- Ovarian suppression to prevent the eggs from maturing to prevent damage during treatment
- Ovarian transposition for women receiving radiation to the pelvis
Dr. Terri Woodard spoke to SurvivorNet earlier this year, reminding women there are options for preserving fertility after a cancer diagnosis.
No matter what course of action you choose to take, it is important that all women feel comfortable discussing their options prior to cancer treatment.
In a previous conversation with SurvivorNet, Dr. Jaime Knopman, a reproductive endocrinologist at CCRM NY, says time is precious when dealing with fertility preservation for women with cancer. In other words, the sooner the better when it comes to having these important fertility conversations with your doctor.
“The sooner we start, the sooner that patient can then go on and do their treatment,” Dr. Knopman said. “A lot of the success comes down to how old you are at the time you froze and the quality of the lab in which your eggs or embryos are frozen in.”
Can I Have A Baby After Breast Cancer?
When it comes to breast cancer patients specifically, there are some unique fertility challenges for women with the disease. Dr. Elizabeth Comen, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, outlines them in a previous interview with SurvivorNet:
- Young women who need chemotherapy could have their fertility significantly affected because many chemotherapy drugs can damage a woman’s eggs.
- If women are on a medication to stop the hormones which feed their specific kind of breast cancer, they may not be able to get pregnant for several years – in some instances 10 years.
- Many stage four breast cancers need estrogen to grow. Pregnancy is a very, very high hormonal state, so it’s not recommended in these cases.