When 31-year-old Amy Hemsworth was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, the one thing she wasn't told was how chemotherapy would affect her fertility.
It was only by talking to other cancer patients she discovered she faced the real possibility of never having children.
But by then, it was too late to do anything about it.
She was told if she waited the weeks necessary to extract her eggs, her cancer would likely spread.
Labor backbencher Tara Cheyne will on Wednesday move a motion calling on the government to do more to help women like Ms Hemsworth.
She wants the government to investigate the feasibility of establishing a Territory-wide fertility preservation service specifically for Canberra patients of reproductive age diagnosed with cancer or another serious disease that may impact on their fertility.
Canberra gynecologist and obstetrician Steve Robson welcomed the move, saying there needed to be better pathways for women with cancer or other illnesses to preserve their fertility.
He said chemotherapy often had a severe effect on a woman's fertility, seriously damaging the ovaries.
And women who need hormone therapy for five to ten years after their initial breast cancer treatment cannot conceive while taking it.
"Suddenly they find themselves totally infertile, and that's utterly devastating for young women," Dr Robson said.
Even if I did have that window to get the eggs out, you have to find a spare $10,000.Amy Hemsworth
Dr Robson would like to see the ACT set up a "one stop shop" for young Canberrans who have cancer to help with all aspects of their fertility. He said it should also look at the financial burden fertility treatment puts on patients.
"The situation in the ACT at the moment is very ad hoc," Dr Robson said.
"Typically cancer specialists will have to scramble around to find someone who can provide advice and care at short notice. Most women face the double whammy of not only being told you have breast cancer but also the treatment of that cancer could well render you infertile."
Ms Hemsworth said the knowledge she might now be infertile was gut-wrenching. She married her husband two years ago and they had just started talking about trying for kids before her diagnosis.
"When I was diagnosed it was a six week wait to see a surgeon," Ms Hemsworth said.
"By the time I saw my surgeon they didn't talk about fertility. It was this is where you're at, this is how fast moving it is, you have to have chemo now."
After discovering the option of preserving her eggs, the Christmas shutdown period meant she would have to wait too long before she could extract them.
"The choice I was given was you either become stage four and be able to have kids or run the risk," Ms Hemsworth said.
"Even if I did have that window to get the eggs out, you have to find a spare $10,000."
Ms Cheyne said her proposal had the support of Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.
She said conversations she had with Dr Robson and women like Ms Hemsworth made her realise the gaps in the system.
"It has come to my attention that while discussions about fertility preservation should and often do form part of a holistic approach to treating patients with cancer or another serious disease, this isn't always the case. When these conversations do occur, the way forward isn't always clear," Ms Cheyne said.
"What I didn't really appreciate was there's such a small window between diagnosis and beginning treatment for cancers in young people because they can be very aggressive.
"Fertility does need to be part of that broader conversation.
"A lot of women due to the nature of cancer diagnosis miss the boat in terms of fertility preservation."