Sister Gives the Gift of Life by Donating Eggs to Breast Cancer Survivor

Oct 21, 2010, 18:34 ET from Carolina Conceptions

RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- After being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34 and undergoing months of aggressive chemotherapy, Teri Critcher was unsure if she would be able to start the family she always dreamed of until her sister, Niki, offered to donate her eggs. It was several years ago when Teri, who had no family history of cancer, first started treatment for a form of breast cancer that left her no time to preserve her eggs. After being pronounced clear from cancer in 2006, Teri and her husband Howie wanted to start a family but were advised to give Teri's body two to three years to recuperate and see if the cancer would return.

Fortunately it did not, and at age 37, Teri and her husband sought help getting pregnant from Dr. John Park, a board certified infertility specialist at Carolina Conceptions. "Chemotherapy can wipe out the remaining pool of eggs that are resting within the ovaries, so while Teri was only 37 years old, she had an egg reserve equivalent to a 50 year old," says Dr. Park who recommended Teri and her husband pursue in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs to achieve the best possible pregnancy rates.

Teri's sister, Niki Downs, who has two children of her own, offered to donate her eggs to help Teri conceive. "I knew how much Teri and Howie wanted kids and this was a gift I could give that would be forever," says Niki. Teri and her husband's first attempt at IVF with donor eggs was a success and she is currently pregnant and in her second trimester. "I am very lucky to have such a generous sister; my husband and I couldn't be more excited about this pregnancy," says Teri.

As cancer treatments continue to improve there are a growing number of survivors of childhood cancers and breast cancer. However, the cost of survival can mean the loss of future fertility. "It is very rewarding to be able to provide an alternative method of building a family for this group of patients. Fortunately for Teri she had a younger sister who was willing and able to donate her eggs," says Dr. Park.

Dr. John Park, along with Dr. Bill Meyer and Dr. Grace Couchman, make up the practice Carolina Conceptions – a well-renowned infertility clinic in Raleigh, NC.

SOURCE Carolina Conceptions