Her sister was the gestational surrogate to help fulfill her dreams of motherhood
Dr. William Ziegler is featured in a Hackensack Meridian Health article after assisting a patient with breast cancer achieve pregnancy through a gestational surrogate (gestational carrier) and fertility preservation. Dr. Ziegler consulted with Lisa Mehler Ackermann due to uterine problems before her breast cancer diagnosis. Once she received a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 34, Lisa was concerned that her dream of motherhood may not be possible.
Within days of Lisa’s diagnosis of hormone-receptive breast cancer she and her husband, Chris, met with Dr. Ziegler and he laid out a plan to preserve her eggs. With only two weeks to retrieve eggs from Lisa’s ovaries, fertilize them with her husband’s sperm and freeze the resulting embryos before Lisa’s treatment began, Dr. Ziegler’s efforts were pushed into overdrive.
“The five-year survival rate for women under 40 with a breast cancer diagnosis is over 90 percent, meaning more women are surviving breast cancer and can possibly conceive,” he explains. “One big decision after a cancer diagnosis is what a woman thinks about her childbearing potential, something that’s often not discussed until after the fact.”
Although ovary-stimulating drugs taken during those two weeks wouldn’t prompt Lisa’s cancer to worsen, Lisa was told she shouldn’t carry a baby because the hormonal medications needed to sustain a pregnancy might fuel any remaining cancer cells. Lisa’s sister Lauren Mozer offered to become Lisa’s gestational surrogate to fulfill her sister’s dreams of motherhood.
“It still blows my mind that the technology is even possible that could make this happen,” Lisa says. “My egg retrieval was years ago, then my embryos were frozen, then my sister carried her. I could never have imagined this was how I’d become a mom. I’m just so grateful.”