The arrival of a newborn is an exciting and truly life altering experience for any new parent. For Lindsay Beck, the Founder and Executive Director of Fertile Hope and her husband Jordan, the birth on June 1st of Paisley Jane Beck, takes on a particularly poignant meaning. At age 22, Lindsay was diagnosed with tongue cancer, and like many cancer patients of childbearing age she faced the risk of permanent infertility due to chemotherapy treatments.
Facing a void of resources concerning the effects of cancer treatment on fertility, Lindsay set out to educate herself. Upon learning her of her risk of infertility, she dedicated herself to finding a way to preserve her ability to one day start a family. That day is finally here.
“When I was diagnosed, the thought of being sterile was almost as devastating as my cancer diagnosis itself. In my eyes cancer wasn’t permanent; it was a hurdle I had to clear. Infertility, on the other hand, was permanent and something I wasn’t sure I could handle. Ultimately I wanted my life after cancer to include having a family. That is why I wanted to survive,” said Lindsay. “This is one of the most important days of our lives. We have worked so hard to make this a reality, and we are so happy that Paisley is here with us,” continued Jordan.
Lindsay’s experience, although positive and hopeful for the future, left her feeling as though she had a secret that needed to be told. She knew that other patients weren’t being informed about their fertility preservation options, and she wanted to share this knowledge. As a result, she founded Fertile Hope, a non-profit organization that provides information, support and hope to patients and survivors faced with the risk of infertility. In the 4 years since the organization’s inception, more than 10 babies have been born and over 130 qualifying cancer patients have received financial assistance to help with the cost of fertility preservation.
“I had a plan for where I wanted to be in life, but spending the first year of my marriage bald and infertile was not something that I’d considered. Thanks to Fertile Hope my husband and I are hopeful that we will have our own biological child in the future. One day, I will get to sit across the table from one or two small children and watch them eat their corn on the cob just the way my husband does,” added Beverley, cancer survivor and Fertile Hope financial assistance recipient.
Prior to attempting pregnancy, Lindsay and Jordan worked closely with her oncology team to ensure her health and to determine an optimal time to start a family. Although they did not use the eggs she froze before chemotherapy, achieving pregnancy wasn’t easy. After multiple miscarriages and the ups and downs of IVF treatments, the husband and wife team worked diligently to pursue a healthy pregnancy and achieve their dream of parenthood.
“This was definitely a collaborative effort by the team here at Cornell’s Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility. We are thrilled that Lindsay and Jordan are now happy parents,” said the center’s Director, Dr. Zev Rosenwaks.
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD