For young girl with cancer, freezing and removing ovary means chance at motherhood

Fertility preservation is new science
Posted at 6:24 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 11:30:42-05

BATAVIA, Ohio – Three years ago, Kayleigh Hogan was a young girl battling cancer, faced with a choice most children wouldn't think of.

Now technology and surgery is ensuring that the 11-year-old from Batavia will be able to raise a family.

Kayleigh is like most kids her age. She enjoys playing with her little brother. Her family means everything to her. But when she was 8, the thought of having a family of her own one day was threatened.

"That's when they found the tumor on the back of her head on the cerebellum," said her mom, Christina Hogan.

"I was scared and nervous," Kayleigh said.

Surgery successfully removed that tumor, and then began radiation treatment. That's when doctors at Cincinnati Children's hospital began suggesting the idea of fertility preservation.

"We didn't even think about the future or her having children and how chemo would affect it," said Christina Hogan.  "It was scary. It was kind of a hard decision, but on the other hand it was an easy decision."

One of Kayleigh's ovaries was removed and frozen. It's an experimental procedure - particularly for kids who haven't even reached puberty.

"We always tell them there's no right or wrong answer,  it's just kind of deciding is this something that seems important to you in the future," said Holly Hoefgen of Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

In London, the procedure has already proven to be a success for a 24-year-old woman who gave birth after having her ovary frozen at just 9 years old.

"It gives us so much more hope and light in the future for these types of patients," said Olivia Frias of Children's.

While doctors say each patient must weigh her own risks and benefits, the Hogans say already the payoff is becoming clearer.

"We found out about six months ago that her other ovary that's left in her is damaged," said Chrtistina Hogan, "so if we wouldn't have done this procedure, there's a good chance she might not be able to have kids later."

"I can't really find the words, but just thankful."