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Fertility Clinic Freezes Eggs of Cancer Patients for Free

New York Daily News,  Feb 5, 2011
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A Manhattan fertility clinic is offering to freeze the eggs of women with cancer - for free - before they start treatments that could affect their ability to have babies.

"We think it's the right thing to do," said Drew Tortoriello, medical director of the Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Manhattan.

Two New York women with breast cancer have already signed up for the $15,000 freebie - pitched to cancer support groups two weeks ago.

"I wouldn't have been able to afford it," said Vianney Pena, 25, of South Ozone Park, Queens, who had a cancerous lump removed from her breast yesterday and will have her eggs retrieved before chemotherapy starts in March.

"I dreamed of having three kids and now they've given me that option," said Pena, who has a 1-year-old son.

Tortoriello expects to harvest about 15 eggs from Pena. They will be frozen and stored - then thawed, fertilized and transferred in an IVF procedure when she's cancer free.

A 34-year-old woman from Newburgh will also have her eggs frozen next month.

Pharmaceutical companies have donated the incredibly expensive fertility drugs the women need to boost the number of eggs they produce in a cycle - increasing their chances of a healthy embryo at the end.

"It's nice to take money out of the equation and help someone," Tortoriello said.

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