It's a testament to how Naomi Brosnan from Kerry always wanted to be a mother in life that it was one of the first things she asked about after being given a life changing cancer diagnosis aged just 17.

"I started chemo the day after I was diagnosed with stage 4 Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare, fast-growing type of leukaemia and I remember asking about egg freezing because I knew you're meant to do it before starting treatment to preserve your fertility but because of the timeframe and how severe my cancer was they said that I couldn't get it done," remembers Naomi, now aged 25.


"There's nothing I want to do more in life than have my own kids and be a mom, so that's why it's always been such a big thing for me. At 17 you wouldn't normally be thinking about kids, but I knew that chemotherapy can cause fertility issues in the future. "It was heartbreaking when I found out they couldn't do it because I was so sick at the time and they couldn't delay treatment."

After undergoing intensive chemotherapy Naomi went on to spend five months as an inpatient in hospital receiving treatment. "Once I was in remission I immediately started asking questions about fertility," she says. "But I was told in a nice way that there was no point having it checked as I was most likely infertile due to the type of treatment I had".

Undeterred, Naomi underwent fertility testing and was relieved to discover there was still a prospect of successful fertility treatment, but potentially at a significant cost to her. Naomi and her family continued to make enquiries to see if this hurdle could be overcome, at which point she heard about the Childhood Cancer Fertility Project funded by the Irish Cancer Society.

Operated by the Merrion Fertility Clinic, the project aims to preserve fertility both for childhood and adolescent cancer patients about to undergo treatment, as well as for some female survivors under the age of 27 who were unable to access such services before their own treatment.

"I was bawling crying when I found out I was eligible. There are actually no words to explain how grateful I am for this project.

Everyone should be entitled to help if they’re in need of fertility treatment or if they’re struggling to have kids, I always said i was going to do it one way or another, either by having to take out a loan or put myself in debt to pay for it, because it's something you can't put a price on- you'd pay anything in order to do it" It’s a tough position to be in that if you can’t afford to pay for it then you take the chance of it of not being able to have kids in the future but luckily due to this Childhood Cancer Fertility Project my egg freezing treatment was free of charge”

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“There’s nothing I want to do more in life than be a mom.”

Naomi Brosnan ICS

Naomi went through an initial successful cycle of fertility treatment in May last year. In her own case, this was followed by a second round of treatment in February this year due to further complications caused by her diagnosis of stage 4 endometriosis, a condition that can affect the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the lining of the womb.

With these cycles now finished, Naomi says it is a great relief having this to fall back on if she ever needs it. “I could be going into menopause younger than the average woman because of chemo, and that could be in the next 6 months or the next 6 years, nobody knows. So having my egg frozen gives me great peace of mind in case it does happen.

“Due to chemo I was left with an immune deficiency disorder which leaves me vulnerable to recurrent pneumonia and other infections so because of this I’ve always been sick. I’ve never been able to travel as I always needed to be near a hospital or receiving courses of medication. I've been lucky recently to be able to manage my condition so I'm moving to Australia in a few months’ time, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had to fund my own egg freezing. So it’s literally given me a whole new lease on life.” 

To give back, Naomi will be walking 100,000 steps in a day

on 21 April 2023 to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society. 

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