This is Infertility is a bi-weekly podcast where we fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give you a new perspective on what it’s really like to go through a family building journey. Each episode dives into the emotional, physical, and financial burdens carried by those who experience infertility on their path to parenthood. Be it IVF, IUI, egg freezing, surrogacy, adoption, etc., the path is never the same and it can be long, painful, and lonely. It’s our mission to give those struggling a platform to be heard, a community connection, and an opportunity to raise awareness of the 1 in 8 who, for many reasons, struggle with infertility.

Episode 21: Oncofertility: The Hope Fertility Preservation Can Bring

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in light of this, we are dedicating four episodes to oncofertility – the bridge between oncology and reproductive research that explores and expands options for the reproductive future of cancer survivors.  

In the third episode of the four-part series, we hear the story of Megan Connolly, a college student whose entire world stopped when she discovered she had cancer. Megan was only 19 when she began her battle against Hodgkin’s LymphomaCancer threatened not only her life, but her lifelong dream of becoming a mother.  

Well hear how Megan beat cancer (twice!) and with the help of patient navigator Kristin Smith of the Oncofertility Consortium, was able to freeze her eggs. Fertility preservation offered Megan a sense of control over her life and allowed her to focus on the future of her life after cancer.  

Guest: Megan ConnollyProject Coordinator at Northwestern University 

Experts: Dr. Jennifer Levine, Weill Cornell Medicine and Alliance for Fertility Preservation, and Janet ChoiCCRM New York 

HostLissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny 

For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page, Oncofertility Consortium, Alliance for Fertility Preservation and CCRM.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @ThisisInfertilityPodcast and use the #ThisisInfertility. 

Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at thisisinfertility@progyny.com. 

Host

Lissa Kline, LCSW, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny

Lissa manages and oversees Progyny’s Patient Care Advocates. Prior to joining Progyny, she worked at Columbia University Medical Center in the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Involved in Patient Services and the Donor Egg Program, she loved working with patients while they underwent fertility treatment. Lissa graduated with a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.

Guests

Megan Connolly, Project Coordinator at Northwestern University

Megan is a two-time cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 19 years old. After receiving six months of chemotherapy she was in remission and was able to return to college. However, after eight months in remission she had a relapse. Megan’s treatment for her relapse was an intensive, aggressive and grueling treatment plan. She endured chemotherapy, total body radiation, and an autologous stem cell transplant. She has been cancer free for seven wonderful years!

Jennifer Levine, MD, MSW, Board Member for Alliance for Fertility Preservation and Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Jennifer Levine was a Principal Investigator on a study through the children’s oncology group evaluating ovarian reserve in adolescents diagnosed with lymphoma. Levine completed her residency at Yale New Haven Hospital and her fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center/MSCHONY.

Janet M. Choi, M.D., board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist and Medical Director of CCRM New York

After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University with an A.B. in English literature, Dr. Choi earned her medical degree from Columbia University. She remained at Columbia for her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Subsequently, she completed her sub-specialty fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Prior to joining CCRM New York, she was on faculty at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center where she was the director of oncofertility/fertility preservation.

Music From This Episode:

Artist: Monplaisir
Track: I am the Coyote
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Monplaisir/American_Dreams_Soundtrack/Monplaisir_-_American_Dreams_Original_Soundtrack_-_11_I_am_the_Coyote

Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: Maximum Relax
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/Vanilla_Chill/LR_-_01_-_Maximum_Relax

Artist: Osiris Saline
Track: Salvador Darling Instrumental
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Osiris_Saline/Nails/Osiris_Saline_-_Nails_-_03_Salvador_Darling_-Instrumental-

Artist: Kai Engel
Track: Brand New World
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Sustains/Kai_Engel_-_Sustains_-_01_Brand_New_World

Track: Global Warming
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Sustains/Kai_Engel_-_Sustains_-_08_Global_Warming

Artist: ROZKOL
Track: Golden Sphere
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/ROZKOL/Roadside_Picnic/ROZKOL_-_Roadside_Picnic_-_14_Golden_Sphere

Artist: Philipp Weigl
Track: Western Shores
URL:  http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Philipp_Weigl/Sound-trax/Philipp_Weigl_-_07_-_Western_Shores

Artist: Cairo Braga
Track: Madrugada Solitria
URL:  http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Cairo_Braga/Qualquer_Arte_Ruim__Melhor_Que_Arte_Nenhuma/02_Madrugada_Solitria

Artist: Swelling
Track: Dawn II
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Swelling/Projector_Music_For_Visual_Media/Swelling_-_Projector-_Music_for_Visual_Media_-_07_Dawn_II

Artist: Steve Combs
Track: A Vital Piece of Music for All Your Soundtrack Needs
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Steve_Combs/Jaw/Steve_Combs_-_Jaw_-_01_A_Vital_Piece_of_Music_for_All_Your_Soundtrack_Needs

Artist: Loyalty Freak Music
Track: I care
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Loyalty_Freak_Music/INSTRUMENTAL_RB_BEATS_TO_SING_OR_RAP_ON/Loyalty_Freak_Music_-_INSTRUMENTAL_RB_BEATS_TO_SING_OR_RAP_ON_-_08_I_care

Artist: Maydan
Track: Underwater
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Meydan/For_Creators/Underwater_1569

Artist: Jahzzar
Track: MainSquare
URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Jahzzar/handmade/MainSquare