Comedian Tig Notaro on Doing IVF After Having Breast Cancer: 'I Definitely Put Myself At Risk'
Tig Notaro had been planning to have a child before her “life fell apart” in 2012, she says.
After nearly dying from a rare infection, Notaro found out that her mother had passed away from a fall. She was then diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy, which complicated her hopes to conceive via in vitro fertilization.
Despite her doctor’s advice and the potentially deadly health risks, Notaro went ahead with the IVF process. “I had been so on the track of ‘I’m gonna have a child’ before I was sick, I couldn’t take my eyes off it,” she admits on WYNC Studios’ Death, Sex & Money podcast.
“It was tricky,” she says. “I definitely put myself at risk by doing IVF because the kind of cancer that I had is fueled by hormones and IVF just injects you with hormones,” she explains. While the treatment ultimately wasn’t successful, the risks caused by the hormone injections linger, but Notaro tries not to dwell on them.
“It’s something where if I spend too much time thinking about it, it will bring me great levels of stress and anxiety, but I try to just accept the decision I made,” she shares. “Hopefully I’m okay and I will be okay because I am in remission now, but hopefully doing IVF, that won’t rear its head and cancer won’t return.”
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While she remained eager to become a parent, Notaro, 47, didn’t want to rush her partner Stephanie Allynne, 32, who she met in 2013. “Although she wanted children, she didn’t necessarily see herself trying to have children for a few more years,” she says. “The first year we were together, I put things aside and just wanted to focus on our relationship, but it was going to come back up because that was a focus.” When the time came, the couple decided to conceive with Allynne’s eggs. “I felt very, very lucky that she didn’t skip a beat, and just joined me in moving forward.”
Now, six years after her diagnosis, Notaro is healthy, married and the proud mother of twin boys. The comedian, whose now-famous “Hello, I have cancer” stand-up set in 2012 led to a book deal and Showtime documentary, married Allynne in October of 2015 and the couple welcomed twins Max and Finn the following year via surrogate.
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