16-year-old girl freezes eggs ahead of chemo

Doctors told a 16-year-old girl that chemotherapy could make her infertile. She had just weeks to decide if she was going to freeze her eggs.

16-year-old McKindree Patton wanted to share her story, but she was too sick to do so.

A few years ago, McKindree was diagnosed with a rare form of bone marrow failure where her red and white blood cells don't function properly.

Last year, she underwent a bone marrow transplant requiring chemotherapy that could make her infertile.

"My husband had come to me months prior before going to get a transplant and said I just have the strongest feeling that we need to give McKindree the choice to have a family if she chooses to," said Aimee Patton, McKindree's mother.

When she was 16, having children was the furthest thing from McKindree's mind.

Ultimately a friend, who didn't have time to store her eggs before chemo, helped her make the decision.

"She said, 'McKindree, this is something you don't want to pass up on, even ten years down the road if you choose that course, at least you'll have an option,'" said Aimee Patton.

The procedure and drugs cost up to $20,000.

That's when Angel Mamas was introduced. "Instantly we were connected with the founder Shira, who really changed the course of McKindree's life," she said.

Angel Mamas is a non-profit group of mothers who help families with children facing life-threatening illness.

"We hadn't had a request like that, but something about it obviously really touched us all," said Shira Nicks.

The organization turned to Facebook for help, raising $5,000 in three days. Because of the urgency of her chemo, McKindree Patton underwent emergency egg retrieval at Boston IVF in Scottsdale.

"We can do it if they're post-pubertal, it's rare, but it's been done before in 15-16-year-old girls, under the age of 20," said Dr. Jesse Hade.

"Knowing that her eggs were stored, potentially as an adult she has a chance she can use those eggs, and have a family brings a lot of peace, and it gives her hope for the future," said Aimee Patton.

Dr. Hade said testicular cancer can affect fertility in young men, so they too have fertility preservation options.

McKindree Patton hopes to feel better soon and to attend prom this weekend with a friend who also had a bone marrow transplant.

If you would like to donate to Angel Mamas, you can donate here: http://www.angelmamas.org/

To follow McKindree Patton's journey visit: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mckindreepatton
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