Angelina Jolie’s Double Mastectomy: What You Need to Know About the Breast Cancer Gene and Family Planning

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Fertility Centers of Illinois discusses genetic screening for breast cancer and fertility preservation during a breast cancer diagnosis.

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It is of paramount importance that women know what family planning options are available when breast cancer is involved. Couples have the option to prevent genetic disease from being carried on, and women battling cancer can preserve their fertility.

After learning she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer due to a genetic predisposition through the BRCA1 gene, Angelina Jolie made the decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy, lessening her risk to five percent.

Angelina’s decision shines the spotlight on genetic predisposition to disease, and what women can do to lessen risk. For women at risk for breast cancer or newly diagnosed, it is important to know the options available to grow a healthy family and preserve future fertility.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is a cutting-edge technology that screens embryos for genetic disease. For those predisposed to cancer or other genetic abnormalities, this option allows couples to select the healthiest embryos during in-vitro fertilization treatment. Genetic screening can detect the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as several other specific genetic disorders.

Egg vitrification allows women diagnosed with breast cancer to preserve their future fertility by freezing eggs. After cancer treatment when a woman is ready for a family, she can use her eggs to create embryos and carry a baby. For those with hormone sensitive breast cancer diagnoses, they may choose to have a surrogate carry the baby to assist in preventing a recurrent cancer diagnosis.

“It is of paramount importance that couples and women know what family planning options are available when breast cancer is involved,” says Dr. Angeline Beltsos of Fertility Centers of Illinois. “Couples have the option to prevent genetic disease from being carried down the family bloodline. For women battling cancer, the devastation of losing the ability to have children in the future can be prevented by egg freezing for fertility preservation.”

Fertility Centers of Illinois has helped thousands of couples grow healthy families for more than 30 years. Our nationally and internationally renowned physicians utilize the most advanced technology available to provide cutting-edge fertility treatment.

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Fertility Centers of Illinois, S.C., is one of the nation's leading fertility treatment practices, providing advanced reproductive endocrinology services in the Chicago area for more than 30 years. FCI physicians, embryologists and support staff are stringently chosen based on educational background, medical skills and their ability to collaborate. With a team of 10 nationally and internationally recognized reproductive physicians who treat thousands of patients each year, the practice has earned a reputation for overcoming hard-to-solve fertility issues. FCI is dedicated to medical and clinical excellence and continues to invest in the latest technologies and research. FCI offers a comprehensive range of fertility treatment options including intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, donor egg, gestational carrier, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, as well as extensive resources to address financial and emotional needs. Fostering a culture for continuous innovation has made FCI home to the annual Midwest Reproductive Symposium which attracts experts in the field of reproductive endocrinology from around the world. FCI has 10 offices conveniently located throughout the Chicagoland area (Buffalo Grove, Chicago/River North, Crystal Lake, Glenview, Highland Park, Hoffman Estates, Lindenhurst, Warrenville, Oakbrook Terrace, and Orland Park). FCI is a member of the Attain Fertility Network which provides discounted fertility treatment programs. For more information visit

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