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Lifetime's Remarkable Women campaign honors extraordinary women who inspire and empower others to make a difference in their communities and the world.
October 23: Alice Crisci
Alice Crisci; Founder of the My Vision foundation Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 31 Her treatment tactic: Double mastectomy How many embryos she has frozen: 14 How many eggs she has frozen: 11 Fun fact: She had a nude photo shoot before her mastectomy to commemorate the body she was born with.
Alice Crisci, founder of My Vision, was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 27, 2008. She was 31 years old. Knowing she wanted to be a mother, she proactively sought answers to her concerns about infertility. She found few resources to help her with decision-making or with the exorbitant financial cost of fertility preservation. Absolutely sure she wanted to be a mother, Alice moved forward with one round of in vitro fertilization prior to her double mastectomy. Upon hearing about the low success rates of traditional egg freezing, she chose embryo freezing as her primary fertility preservation method, hoping she could retrieve enough eggs to fertilize half and freeze the other half. Single, Alice was referred to the California Cryobank (CCB), a renowned sperm bank known for only taking 1% of donor applicants, to select donor sperm.
Handed a catalogue of donor statistics, Alice felt like she was a talent scout recruiting for a basketball team. With determination and a lot of humor, she narrowed down her choices by reviewing all pieces of data CCB provides including audio interviews, baby pictures, donor essays, extensive medical history and donor profiles. She eventually settled on a French, Mexican and Spanish med student with tall uncles on both sides of the family and a spotless medical history.
Admitting the donor sperm selection process was daunting and overwhelming at first, she quickly fell in love with her future "Baby Daddy," and subsequently, her embryos. While she was literally incubating her eggs, she was figuratively incubating My Vision. The same week that her doctor retrieved 31 eggs (an unusually high amount due to ovarian hyperstimulation), Alice launched the foundation's first Web site just three short weeks after her diagnosis.
Prior to her double mastectomy, Alice also wrote a novella called "Too Young For This" for other breast cancer patients and their loved ones, had a nude photo shoot to commemorate the body she was born with while grieving the coming loss of her breasts, launched the foundation with a an evening cocktail reception and preserved her fertility.
Alice is now the proud mom of 14 frozen embryos (known to board member Haley as "Totsickles") and 11 frozen eggs. She is also a fertility preservation spokeswoman for the California Cryobank, a columnist for the Huffington Post and is the Interim Executive Director of My Vision. Her life before breast cancer remains a blur as she courageously embraces a reinvented life, one richer and fuller than she ever imagined was possible.