When Christopher Juried was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma B-Mantle cell doctors told him he probably had five years to live.
Never in a million years did he think he’d be a dad.
But he is today… to a miracle baby, a 10-month-old name Christopher.
His story starts when he was 23, and diagnosed as the youngest man in the world with the rare form of cancer.
“When I found out I had cancer, I went to four different doctors, and three-fourths of them said I wouldn’t make it past five years,” Chris remembers.
Aggressive cancer treatment saved his life, but destroyed his fertility. Thankfully doctors suggested that Chris bank his sperm.
“Doctors told us there was a slight chance that we could get pregnant on our own, so we tried with no success over three or four years,” Teresa says.
They tried IUI, Intrauterine insemination, a procedure that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization, but that failed to work.
“After two attempts at IUI, I learned that I had endometriosis.”
Endometriosis is a condition that makes it very difficult to conceive.
So that’s when they turned to Mark Denker, M.D., and the Palm Beach Fertility Center.
“Fortunately, Chris’ oncologists advised him to bank his sperm prior to undergoing the high-dose chemotherapy, total body irradiation and allogeneic stem cell transplant treatments,” says Dr. Denker, a reproductive endocrinologist in a Boca Raton fertility center.
Dr. Denker recommended a fertility treatment cycle that would incorporate in vitro fertilization, combining Chris’ frozen sperm with Teresa’s retrieved eggs in a petri dish in the IVF lab. The advanced services that likely led to the successful outcome included IVF lab techniques called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, and assisted hatching.
“This was the third time we were trying to get pregnant [after the first two IUI attempts with another fertility center], and we decided this is it,” Teresa said. “It was an emotional time. Chris was the last man to carry his family name.”
It worked. The couple found out at Hanukah time that IVF was a success.
The new mom’s advice to anyone struggling with infertility: “I will tell any couple not to give up. I know it’s hard—infertility takes you in every direction you can imagine. If we hadn’t taken the next step, we wouldn’t have the beautiful son that we do.”
Chris is sharing his story so that other men fighting cancer can become dads too.
Chris and Teresa, married 10 years, celebrated their first Father’s Day with their new baby, Michael Christopher, now 10 months old.
What did Chris do on Father’s Day? It was low key because all he wanted to do was spend time with his “miracle baby.”