Suburban mother gives birth to twins despite infertility from cancer treatment


In February 2020, Shelly Batista noticed a lump while breastfeeding her oldest daughter, Emilia.

“At first I thought it was a clogged milk duct,” Batista said.

She followed up with her primary care doctor. At age 34, Battista was stunned by a diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer and his BRCA 1 mutation.

With no family history of cancer, Battista was concerned not only for her own health, but also for her future family.

“We were already talking about expanding our family. That was my first question. How will this affect me?”

Batista and her husband, Robert, went to see Dr. Kara Goldman, medical director of fertility at Northwestern Medicine.

“Chemotherapy saves lives, but it also requires fertility,” says Goldman.

“Chemotherapy attacks rapidly dividing cells, including cancer cells. This is why chemotherapy saves lives. But other rapidly dividing cells include cells in the ovary, including the egg. “There is a limited supply. So if you lose those eggs during chemotherapy, they can’t be replaced,” the doctor explained.

Before starting chemotherapy, Batista started the egg retrieval process and was able to retrieve eight embryos or fertilized eggs prior to chemotherapy and double mastectomy.

“Knowing that you had a chance of getting pregnant after all of this is the light at the end of the tunnel, and for so many patients, that’s the way they see it,” Goldman said.

On December 9, 2020, Battista was declared cancer-free, but chemotherapy damaged her ovaries, rendering them nonfunctional before she turned 40. The BRCA 1 mutation also made Battista more likely to develop ovarian cancer, so after consulting with her doctor, Battista chose to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.

A year later, doctors cleared Batista’s pregnancy. Hormone replacement prepared her uterus for pregnancy. After two unsuccessful transfers, she succeeded on her third attempt.

An ultrasound confirmed that Sherry and Robert had identical twin girls. “I think our jaws opened a little bit, but seriously, it also means such a blessing,” said Batista.

Nina and Margot gave birth on December 9, 2022. This is exactly two years after the day Shelley was declared cancer-free.

After giving birth, Goldman visited the Batista family at the hospital and thanked Sherri for immediately speaking out for her future family, and for the state of Illinois mandating insurance coverage for her fertility treatment.

“We are in one of the few states where insurance often covers fertility preservation in emergency situations. There are only 12 states in the United States that have laws requiring this,” Goldman said. said Mr.

“Sheri’s care was actually covered by her insurance. She had fertility preservation and embryo transfer coverage,” Goldman said. “I think it’s very important that patients know that this is an option, a very real option, and that it works.”

Now at home with their two newborn daughters and three-year-old sister, Shelly and Robert Batista have the three children they always dreamed of, despite the cancer ordeal that robbed Shelly of her fertility. There is

“I think it is very important that we advocate not only for our health, but also for our future,” Shelly Battista said.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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