Atlanta fertility clinic ‘fast-tracks’ cancer patients

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Atlanta, GA (WGCL) — An Atlanta medical facility is helping cancer patients do something that once seemed impossible: have more babies.

Marisa Topping of Smyrna was 38 years old when she learned she had breast cancer.

“I found a lump,” Topping said.

At the time, she and her husband Paul were trying to have another child, a sibling for their daughter Pearl.

“Having the breast cancer and then learning that the treatment plan might include chemotherapy, we weren’t sure if I would have any trouble getting pregnant afterward,” she said.

Topping’s doctors referred her to Dr. Lisa Hasty, a fertility specialist and founder of the Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine (ACRM). As soon as Topping’s lump was removed, Hasty put Topping on a fast-track. She stimulated Topping’s ovaries, extracted her eggs and froze the couple’s embryos.

“I had to really coordinate her care with her oncologist and with some other caregivers,” said Hasty. “We really had to move pretty quickly because they were ready to begin her treatment.”

Once Topping successfully completed her chemotherapy and radiation sessions, two embryos – ones that had never been tainted by chemo and radiation – were implanted. Marisa Topping was pregnant with twins.

“We were so excited,” she said.

Recently, ACRM teamed up with the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. Starting next month, Hasty and her team will begin sending cancer patients’ cells to a lab in Colorado for even more advanced testing than Topping had.

“So we’re hoping that’s going to raise success rates by another five to ten percentage points, which means a lot more babies,” said Hasty.

Topping, now 40, is cancer-free. She said her twins Declan and Cora, now two years old, have made her family complete.

“Having this option,” she said, “just kind of kept our lives going the way we had imagined it would go.”

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