Saturday, February 28, 2009

My RE affirms IVM isn't beneficial, compared to IVF

Wouldn't you know that AFTER my husband and I thoroughly discuss the positives and negatives of IVM and decide that it's just not for us, I ran across a show produced by the infertility radio show I listen to discussing new infertility technologies and one of the subjects was IVM. The guest on the show was none other than my own RE, Dr. Peter Ahlering. What's funny is that his position on IVF vs. IVM is pretty much the exact reasoning we arrived at - that ultimately it's not effective enough, or cheap enough, to be sensible. We were worried that if we went down that road and didn't end up with a baby, we'd have no money left to try what I call the "end-all-be-all" for infertility - IVF. Anyway, it was just good to hear a trusted medical opinion on this topic and I wanted to share it with the rest of the world.

As usual, below are my notes from the show. Live

Disclaimer - Please note that the information below is my personal synopsis of the free online radio program hosted by Kim Haun, founder of Conceive Magazine, with guest Dr. Peter Ahlering, an ob/gyn and medical director of the Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine in St. Louis. It is in no way meant to quote the either of the parties mentioned above.

Listen for Yourself

Scroll down in the archive to:
Date: 1/29/09
Title: "New Fertility Technology".

Dr. Peter Ahlering's thoughts on In Vitro Egg Maturation (IVM): IVM is where you stimulate the ovaries with drugs when they are very small. Egg retrieval of immature eggs, probably two steps behind where you'd be with IVF. In order to be competent for fertilization, they have to mature these immature eggs in the lab. This procedure has been around for many years and it's an extremely complex process still that involves maturing an egg to the point that it's capable of being fertilized. With the process of IVF, you wonder if people really need to do IVM. Yes, successes have been reported, but not that many because it's not that applicable to that many people.

Is IVM safer for PCOS patients?
People talk about how it's safer for women who have polycystic ovaries because they can avoid hyperstimulation... this is true, but there are other ways to avoid this through IVF and still have very high outcome. Prolonged coasting and other types of protocal medication alteration to avoid hyperstimulation. In Dr. Ahlerings opinion, less than 1% of patients would suffer from hyperstimulation.

Is IVM more affordable than IVF?
What about cost? Isn't it more affordable? Isn't it easier on the woman? Yes, the process itself is cheaper, but if you're trying to save money on the goal of having a baby, it just won't work because you'll have to try more times, so the cost goes up and is most often higher. Do we even know how the eggs will respond to this outside of the body? You have to get a lot of eggs to make a baby with IVM (25-30 mature eggs), compared to IVF (10-12 mature eggs) because a lot of them are lost through the process. An article about IVM where success rates are in low teens. That same young PCOS patient would have a 50-60% single cycle chance.

Egg retrieval for IVM

How do you retrieve the eggs given they're so small? It's just like IVF in a lot of respects. A mature follicle at the time of ovulation is 18-22mm, whereas an immature follicle is much smaller - more like 5-6mm because it's an immature egg. Those immature follicles are always there in a PCOS patient. You can go get eggs and you retrieve just like you would during IVF. During an IVM retrieval you might get 30 immature eggs. And after 24-48 hours you would have a certain number of mature eggs.

Genetics of the egg following IVM
Have we seen enough babies yet to know if we're harming the baby? There haven't been enough studies done. It's doubtful that the process itself would increase birth defects. The problem is that most eggs won't make it to the point of baby.

Is hyperstimulation deadly?
Can women die from hyperstimulation? Maybe that's why a lot of women find IVM appealing. No, practically speaking I don't know how it's possible where you would run into a circumstance where hyperstimulation would be so bad that she would end up in the hospital and be close to death. People who have lots of follicles and eggs are prone to a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. For all women who undergo IVF, to a large degree we create a controled hypersimulation of sorts in the sense that they are creating lots of follicles (not just one like you would during a typical non-IVF cycle). The common rule of thumb is that you get a lot of follicles and there is no illness from it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

IVM success rates too small, so we're back to IVF

Our basic, personal conclusion on doing IVM in Canada or the UK is this: Looking at statistics, at the end of 4 tries of IVF with Dr. Peter Ahlering, we would have an 80% chance of walking away with a baby. It sounds weird to put it in those terms, but it's true. Those odds are pretty high if you think about it and it really doesn't get any better than IVF, in terms of mecical infertility capabilities.

"What if" IVM didn't work?
With IVM in Canada (I can't speak for the UK, because they don't provide very detailed success rates), you would have to try about 7 times to have those same odds. Seven times! That is a heck of a lot. If they were next door it might not be as big of a deal, but by the time you add in travel seven times over, it is just as expensive as IVF. PLUS, and this is my big hang up, say we did 3 rounds of IVM, but were unsuccessful, would we have the stamina to stick it out to 7, or would we get scared that we'd "waste" all our money on something that just doesn't have as good proven success? Trying to think way in advance, I personally think I'd get a little worried that in the end, after 7 rounds of IVM, if we still didn't have a baby in our arms, that I would have wished and would wonder if IVF would have been the thing to do the trick.

Having only one ovary most likely makes our odds even smaller
Then, there is my own personal health issues that have to factor in. Given that I only have one ovary, that isn't even accessible from all sides (remember it's glued to my uterus on one side), they might not be able to retrieve all of the eggs they need for the maturation process. When I e-mailed the clinic in Oxford, their reply was "Mr Child has said that for IVM you would need a total antral follicle count of 20-30 with all being reached with a needle via the vagina." While I've had many internal ultrasounds, I have never "officially" had my antral follicles counted. Even my RE just said you you have a "good number of follicles in the one ovary" - obviously that's not nearly specific enough, but I still highly doubt I have 20-30.

IVM live birth rates almost half of some IVF clinics
Yes, in IVF they also do a retrieval which is very similar, however, because you've gone through all of the stimulation drugs, the follicles are larger and therefore easier to see and access. Having said that, I would imagine that my personal "success rate" would be quite a bit smaller than the average woman with two ovaries. Maybe not half of what her chances would be, but still enough that it would probably have large impact, seeing as how the chance of success for a "live birth" in a given IVM transfer is only around 21% for women under the age of 35. Who knows how much lower it would be for me - this factor alone would mean that I would need even MORE than 7 cycles of IVM to have the same chance at a live birth, compared to IVF. In truth, this is my opinion having researched things and I don't know for certain my chances will decrease that much.

Ugh. So really we're more than likely back to square one. I mean I still want to ask Dr. Ahlering how our chances will be affected with any treatement, including IVF, because we will need to know going forward how many trys we'll more than likely need to make this happen. The last thing I want to do is buy a single cycle at a time and end up paying WAY more as a result, as Dr. Ahlering's office offers what I like to call a "bulk discount". If you buy 2, it's technically cheaper per cycle - same with buying 3 and with 3 you get a small fraction of your money back if you don't have a live birth at the end.

At this point it's just frustrating. Frustrating that there seems to be some other safer form of treatment that is ultimately most likely unattainable because of my health, the distance from those particular clinics which are far and few between and that this is one situation where it really probably doesn't pay to find something cheaper. If we're going to do this, we should find someone who is really good at baby-making and just go for it because in the end, if we didn't end up being able to have biological children, we'd want to look back and know that we gave it our best effort at the time.

First we're selling. Now we're not... Finding a way to pay for IVF.

This has been a weird past two weeks. First we thought this stupid recession stimulus bill would have a house credit in it and, as a result, we were pretty for sure we were selling our home. Then Congress took that out of the bill and the economy continues to worsen, including the housing market. So our choices were - refi our current home which will drop our monthly bill down quite a bit OR still try and get our house ready and see if it will sell. The main difference between the two was that with a new house we would save just slightly more each month on our bill, we'd have to pretty quickly get our home ready to sell ourselves and then we wouldn't have much room to move on price if we did get an offer. The refi would allow us to skip some of the unknown, the stress and the headache of dealing with a new house. Every person that's close to me pretty much thought refi was the way to go. While I still have mixed feelings (I wondered if we should at least "try" to sell first, but that would cost us each month we wait to refi), but ultimately my husband feels like this is probably the way to go.

The other part of that story is that we might have to wait a bit longer to do IVF - mostly because we may need to build our savings up a bit more so that we have more money to live off of in the situation where we have twins and I can't bring any income in. Ultimately I only want to work part-time (and WAH if possible) so that we don't have to put our baby in childcare, so we need to do what makes the most sense for the long run. Man is it hard to be ok with just waiting another solid year. Waiting while friends and relatives get pregnant, have babies and watch their kids take their first steps. I am starting to feel like I'm in some weird time warp where I'm standing still and everything else is moving right along before my eyes.

Even still, I need to be mindful that so many people are faced with so many things right now that are far worse than what we are dealing with. I need to be humbled and keep things in perspective for sure. God give me the strength!!

A side note - I'm now 27 and the sound of that just freaks me out. Why does that have to seem so much older than 26??!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Or, how about low cost IVM in Canada?

Looks like this may be on the table for consideration too! I just got through posting the thing about Oxford, and I came across a forum that listed this site:

McGill Reproductive Center. They're based in Canada and it would seem they offer IVM and have some really good prices too. At least at first glance. Unfortunately, I'm very tired and am getting yelled at to come to bed :) so it will have to wait. I have plenty of stuff to research this weekend, that's for sure!

We're considering doing IVM at a clinic in Oxford!

Ok people. I'm super excited about this. In fact, I don't think I've been this excited in quite a long time. After getting some financials from the IVM clinic in Chicago (IVF1, w/ Dr. Morris), it revealed that doing IVM really wouldn't be more cost effective compared to doing IVF with SHER. In fact, per single cycle it was a bit more expensive simply because they don't have a true multi-cycle "discounted" package like SHER does. Instead, they said they offer a $2,000 discount for each additional IVM cycle. Even that isn't enough to make it worth my wild.

To also stay relevant, I should say that we recently (like as of this past weekend) decided to not try and sell our home. After many, many, MANY exhausting hours of considering the advantages and disadvantages with selling/buying or refinancing, we've decided that refinancing will probably be the most predictable solution. Given the awful housing market we really don't know what we could expect from selling and would probably get a very low price for our home as a result. We decided that if we want to sell in 5 years (or so), hopefully it will be worth the wait. So, long story short, while it felt good to have an decision made, it made me a little sad. In making our decision, we also came to the conclusion that it also probably made sense to wait a little longer to pursue IVF. The longer we wait, the more we can save each month so that we have more of a reserve to fall back on once we do have our baby.

We were still in the middle of coming up with that time frame when I heard back from the IVM clinic in Oxford, UK, known as the Oxford Fertility Unit, a non-profit clinic (how cool is that!). As a long shot, I e-mailed them almost a week ago to see if they thought I would be a good candidate for IVM, since I only have one ovary that is probably partially blocked due to scar tissue and it being adhered to my uterus. The main reason for e-mailing them was the fact that their website listed the prices for their services - prices that are more than half of what they cost here in the U.S. Even with travel factored in, it would still be about 40% less than an IVM or IVF cycle here in the U.S. I was a bit sceptical as to if the prices were even accurate. So, with those things in mind, I sent my e-mail off.

And today, I received this response -

Mr Child's reply to your email is: If both ovaries are accessible vaginally and of polycystic appearance then IVM should be possible. We do treat patients from abroad and the costs are correct."

I don't want to get too excited. I still need to confirm that my only having one ovary wouldn't disqualify me. However, I wanted to outline the costs a little more precisely to make sure I wasn't looking at something incorrect. The price difference just seems too good to be true. For approx. $10,000 we could undergo a single IVM cycle - that includes pretreatment testing, retrieval, ICSI, transfer, drugs and travel costs (flight, hotel, food and an misc expense allowance)!! That is compared to $16,000-$18,000 per IVM/IVF cycle here in the U.S.

Months ago when my husband mentioned the idea of doing a "vacation infertility treatment" my reaction was "no way! absolutely not". I couldn't imagine doing something so major outside of the U.S. - it just doesn't seem safe. My mind is slowly changing for three reasons:

1) This is Oxford, England, not a third-world country. I would feel safe while traveling and would trust that the hospital would be held to high standards.

2) This is the clinic that pretty much pioneered IVM and is a part of the renowned
Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital. I would actually feel safer in the hands of Dr. Child's, vs. Dr. Morris in Chicago, only because Dr. Child's had an extensive amount of experience in this arena, in comparison.

3) The fact that we would be able to get away from it all and focus on this experience and nothing else - a little "infertility vacation" if you will - seems like icing on the cake. I do think we should be mindful of the possible effect flying and the time change could have on the success of the treatment and would need to discuss this more in depth with the doctor before making our decision.

Speaking of... once we hear back about my ovary situation, and provided we're still a candidate, I'm guessing that would be our next step - to make a phone consultation with Dr. Child's to talk about the big picture and what exactly this might mean for us.

EEEeeeek! Again, I really shouldn't be getting all worked up about this but the possibility of saving money, avoiding potentially risky injectable meds, possibly moving treatment time frame up and traveling to England is way too cool!!

In the end, I still need to be mindful of how good God is, regardless of how this IVM Oxford thing turns out. I mean when I break it down - yes, we are dealing with some pretty big things. Yes, we are making sacrifices in order to secure a better future for our family. Yes, we may have to undergo some uncomfortable procedures. Yes, our heart breaks from time to time with a feeling of emptiness. BUT, we are so lucky to have a warm and comforting roof over our heads. To have two fur babies that make me smile the minute I walk in the door. To have good paying jobs. To have supportive parents and a few close supportive friends. To have each other. God is the only one we have to thank for that - he is looking out for us well before we know we'll be confronted with an issue. I'm trusting that even as we deal with this, he is looking out for our future and this is just part of our journey. We will be stronger for it!

Ok so now on to the details of doing IVM in Oxford with Dr. Tim Child. Here are some resources you might find helpful. If you have any additional info to add, please let me know!

Cost Analysis - A spreadsheet I created to take a closer look at the overall costs.

A link to the Clinic's Prices - Costs listed on site are in British Pounds. Above doc converts them to U.S.)

Oxford Fertility Clinic

IVM Procedure in Detail - These sites explain the overall steps and timeline for an IVM cycle

IVM Cycle Compared to IVF - A short news article on IVM as a whole

IVM babies - News story about a couple who underwent IVM with Dr. Tim Child

For the record....
Here is the link to the Chicago clinic that does IVM:
And here is another clinic in the U.S. that claims to also do IVM (It doesn't seem like many clinics are doing IVM yet, so I've had trouble locating another one besides the one in Chicago). I will most likely e-mail them as well just to see what they charge, but haven't done so yet.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How are embryos tested and how many should you transfer in IVF?

I guess you could say that a few factors led me to look into the topic of embryos.

For one, we're don't feel very informed on what it really goes into determining how many embryos will make to a quality high enough for transfer, from those that do make it, how you and your doctor determine how many will be transferred. This is important for us because we're trying to consider how many tries we think we would need at IVF in order to be successful. We're also not sure how much my having only one ovary and PCOS factors in. And of course there's the topic of the new octuplets who were just born and the question of why her doctor would have ever transferred that many embryos in the first place.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Live

Disclaimer - Please note that the information below is my personal synopsis of the free online radio program hosted by Kim Haun, founder of Conceive Magazine, with guest Dr. Peter Ahlering, an ob/gyn and medical director of the Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine in St. Louis. It is in no way meant to quote the either of the parties mentioned above.

Listen for Yourself

Scroll down in the archive to:
Date: 7/24/08
Title: "How Many Embryos to Transfer in IVF".

Embryo Fertilization and Selection
The selection of many embryos is made for you by nature because so many eggs and embryos are abnormal and don't survive past a certain stage. With medications, you can get a woman to produce a lot of eggs but can't get them all to fertilize. If you had someone who had 20 eggs, why wouldn't you want to put to use ICSI with every egg to get them all to fertilize? Even if you do this, you can't always get them all to fertilize because there maybe be chromosomal abnormalities with the egg or problems with the sperm, but you can't often tell by looking at them. Certain people do ICSI on every patient. SHER uses ICSI with every In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) patient and the results are just better in order to optimize fertilization. If you fail at that, you're out at the get-go. This concept has been around for years and SHER believes this is better, even when there's no evident male factor. By doing ICSI, the percentage of eggs fertilized is better (under high magnification) - choosing the ones with minimal abnormalities, and thus has better potential to fertilize and make a higher quality embryo, which translates to more ongoing pregnancy. SHER has been doing 100% ICSI has been doing this for at least 10 years. Not every clinic does this.

If there is a male factor (qualitative or quantitative abnormalities of sperm), the only option you have is to do ICSI. The selection process is really very key.

Women get excited when they get scanned and have a lot of follicles, but get disappointed when very few become fertilized. While ICSI helps, the fact is, the majority of eggs are not going to make a baby. Starting with more eggs will be to a patients advantage to some degree because you will have more that make it through the fertilization stage, then to day 3 and 5, but nature weeds out the abnormal ones as the process goes on. The goal is to maximize the process and attempt to make sure a good egg will make it - thus doing ICSI.

When to Transfer Embryos in IVF - Day 3 or Day 5?
Are physicians and doctors still transferring at day 3, or are they waiting until day 5? The overall thought is if an embryo is going to make a baby, then it will, regardless of the day. However, as technology has advanced, you can take the embryo to a farther stage to allow (the blastocyst stage) you to select embryos that will have a better chance. Before, technology wouldn't allow you do this. The problem is you are trying to reduce the number of multiple pregnancies. Day 5 is the best way to go these days. For example, if you have 10 embryos on day 3, that all look good and the same under the microscope, you pretty much know that only half will make it do day 5. Your chance of picking the wrong ones increases when you have so many embryos. So a patient who only has 3 on day 3, it doesn't matter when you put them in (if you wait until day 5 or not), but it does increase higher multiples. So between day 3 and 5, you let them natural deselect.

Grading Embryos?
How do you compare at day 3 to see what will be the best? Two easiest and cheapest to help select embryos:

1) Natural Deselection - letting nature choose

2) Morphological Appearance at a microscopic level (chance for implantation, checking for fragmentation, etc. This is where experience of an embryologist comes into play). A high number of good quality embryos on day 3 makes it more difficult. Is there any medical reason to transfer on day 3, rather than day 5? No. The only reason is if the patient wants the doctor to (perhaps the belief that they are better on the inside than the outside). If you only have 2 or 3 good embryos on day 3, you should still wait it out.

Do you think that day 5 will be the max for how long you can grow and embryo in a dish? There are reports of people doing day 7, but it all comes back to when fertilization takes place. Going to day 6 isn't unusual, but it's more like 5.5 for Dr. Ahlering's clinic. The embryo has to hatch and once it hatches it has to attach to an endometrial lining and begin the process of implantation. Going beyond day 6, practically speaking, it probably isn't happening. It will need to be cryopreserved or transferred at that point because it will die off if it can't implant after it hatches.

New Techniques for Selecting Embryos
Day 3 objective techniques to select if you have more than 4 or 5 encourages better pregnancy rates. If you don't have a good number of embryos on day 3, you simply put them in and let nature decide. If you do have a good number, you can use these new techniques on day 3:

1) PGT or CGH - which assess the chromosomal abnormalities. The number one reason an embryo fails to implant and make a baby is due to chromosomal issues, so accessing the status is very helpful.

2) HLAG Testing - A protein marker that can be tested on day 2 to access the presence of HLAG in the culture medium of the embryo. This involves taking out the fluid that has been nurturing the embryo and testing the fluid, and leaving the embryo untouched. If there is the presence of HLAG in certain amounts, it suggest it will have better developmental potential, thus reducing the number of embryos you have to put back in. So if you choose 1 or 2 embryos which test HLAG positive, you increase the likelihood that you will will have as good or better pregnancy rate. This is a non-invasive procedure because the embryo itself is untouched - only really using about 50 micro liters, a very small amount, to test with.

Keep in mind, one of the main reasons any of the above is done is to prevent the need to put back in a large amount of embryos, thus keeping the higher multiple probability down.

How many Frozen Embryos to Transfer?
Is there a typical number of embryos transferred in a frozen cycle? Factors which will help determine this are:

1) Age
2) The day the embroys were transferred on
3) What happened with the previous fresh cycle and some of the medical issues that might factor in - successful pregnancy? Date of transfer?

General guidelines, assuming it was blastocysts that were cryopreserved, the big question - does cryoproservation negatively affect the potential of any given embroy? The answer - yes, it can probably affect the embroys viabliltity depending on how it was frozen. For example, using a process called vitrification, vs. the old-school cryopreservation. So assuming they were vitrified as blastocysts, let's use a 34 year old as an example. You would thaw and culture let, meaning you them set for 4 hours to see if they survive. Most will survive the immediate thaw, but sometimes one or two will drop out which is why you culture them - then you put in what remains. In the case where you have a lot of embryos you can use a combined approach - culture 4 and if you have only 0 or 1 that makes it thorough the culture process, you might do a quick thaw and add in 1 or 2 embryos to get a total of 3 and then do the transfer.

It definitely gets more tricky with a frozen cycle, which is why you need to work closely with your doctor to decide which strategy to take. However, using a strategy like this you can optimize the per transfer outcome and minimize the number of transfers to go through all of the embryos - thus being better on the patient and ultimately keeping costs down. You are thus optimizing the chance for an ongoing pregnancy per transfer. In summary you can afford to be more aggressive in the number that are transferred, factoring in the fact that cryopreservation can degrade somewhat. However, if you are freezing normal-grade embryos, you are probably working with a very similar playing field, however, not all embryos are tested before they are frozen.

In the example of a 34 year old, Dr. Ahlering comments he doesn't recommend putting in more than 4 cryopreserved blastocysts, because you increase the odds of having a higher order multiple. If you are comfortable putting that many in, its all in how you go about getting those 4, as mentioned in the previous techniques.

Ultimately, Dr. Ahlering likes to ask his patients how many they want to put in. The patient typically ask him how many he recommends, and he then factors in their entire situation and makes a suggestion.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Closing Thought...
After knowing what I know now, I find it very hard to believe that a doctor would ever find it ethical to transfer 8 embryos with today's technology. The fact that so much testing can be done now days prior to the transfer would indicate that you would have no need to "increase the odds" by way of putting in more than enough. With new technology, we have come so far in the last decade even that the increasing the odds method just doesn't seem to make sense after a certain point. For most people it would seem that "point" is 2-3 and anything above that (4 to perhaps 6 max) is a very rare occasion.

I know I said in a previous post that I would leave the technical medical debate about the octuplet situation up to doctors, and while I still agree to that, I have now formed enough of an educated opinion that I find it hard to be OK with what she requested and what her doctor ultimately executed. I hope most people recognize that this isn't the norm, nor the accepted standard for this part of the medical community, and that infertility isn't given a bad name going forward. Most everyone involved, including myself, wants a happy healthy baby to be conceived and born under the best circumstances possible. It's not simply about what the patient wants but also, and most of all, it's about the new life that is being brought into the world thanks to these treatments.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

This post goes out to my husband - the one person I know I can always count on and who has been through so much with me this past year. I can honestly say 2008 beats out all of those years when I thought I'd never see the light at the end of the college tunnel!

When we decided last year that we were "officially" ready, my life was forever changed. I don't think it was until that exact moment that I truly felt what I'll now always feel. I get excited when I think about what it will be like to see a little you running around barefoot, most likely doing extraordinarily squirrelly things just like the two of us do on a regular basis, but that is the part that makes me the most excited. It's going to be so fun to see you teach our kids how to play tennis (you are an awesome teacher! and I WILL, once and for all, learn how to score a game before that time - I promise), watch you put them to bed at night and all of the things in between. You are going to be a great Dad and your kids - our kids - are going to be a wonderful combination of keen analytical skills and vivacious independence. Not to mention a whole pile of utter cuteness! And you know how I love cute and cuddly things. :)

This Valentine's Day, I hope you know how excited I am about what lies ahead of us in the not-so-distant future. As stressful as it can, and will, be at times, it's also very exciting to think that this time next year we might be gearing up to welcome new life into the world.

I love you sweetie and am so very thankful for what we have together.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

To IVM or To IVF?

That is the question as of now. We still need to sit down and go over all the options. I recently called the IVM clinic in Chicago, IVF 1 - Dr. Randy Morris, to get a little more info. They started by putting me in touch with a nurse who asked if things like was I PCOS, did I have a healthy BMI, did I know what my antral follicle count was. I also asked if by having only one ovary that automatically made me a bad choice for IVM - she said no, that alone wouldn't disqualify me.

She recommended I make a consultation with Dr. Morris to ask questions and so that he can get a better idea of what diagnostic tests we'd still need to do to see if we are, in fact, good candidates. All signs so far point to yes, I'm assuming. That initial consultation is $236, so we're trying to make sure we really want to be serious about considering this option before going any further.

I called the clinic again - this time to see if they could first share costs with us so that we'd know if it would even be a viable option for us. They were more than willing to share and e-mailed me some information today. As of now, it looks like they only offer a single cycle option that is slightly higher than SHER - St. Louis. Plus, our current clinic offers multi-cycle price breaks which would yield us more than one try at more "cost-effective" (it's so totally not cost-effective, but for the purpose of this convo it is :P) rate. I can't help but think I might need more than one try vs. the average woman simply because I only have one ovary (and therefore would assume I would be at risk for producing less embryos). Anyhoo, I we still need to e-mail some additional questions and sort everything out. It's just nice to be able to consider something else that might be a little easier on my body. The idea of so many shots sort of makes me nauseous.

Will update when we know more!

The octuplet controversy continues...

I find this interesting and nothing more. Many people have passed judgement on this woman when they don't fully understand her story or have not gone through infertility themselves. I just don't feel like it's my place to do that. While I can't say I totally agree with each and every decision that was made (at least from what I've heard), I also know that we never imagined we would so quickly be planning to do IVF, with such a fervent passion.

It wasn't all that long ago when my husband made the comment "if we ever have to put your body through all of that, then we'll just not have kids". Ok, I shouldn't have put that in quotes because I don't remember if that's exactly what was said, but it was something very similar. And, at the time, I wasn't terribly upset by that. We weren't trying to have children then, and while we have always wanted and planned my our life so that we would be able to provide a good life for our kids, it seemed like the upright thing to say. I mean, we loved each other and knew that we will always be happy regardless of what happened or didn't happen in our life. While that statement still stands true, the day came when we just "knew" deep down that we wanted to share our life with another life - and more than one at that!

What I'm getting at is that you never really know how you will feel and what you'll do in a situation until you are in that situation. We certainly didn't know that when the overwhelming feeling of love came over us that we'd be ready and more than willing to make our life a somewhat chaotic whirlwind in order to be able to afford IVF treatments - let alone willing to undergo the physical stress of putting our bodies through such an adventure, but we're definitely here now. I'm sure that there was something that the mother to new octuplets, Nadya Suleman, felt that most of us won't be able to understand. I'm ok with not knowing what that is and trusting that she is capable of listening to her heart and will do her best to be a wonderful mom for her children.

Infertility Procedures
Technically speaking, I was curious as to what infertility procedures she underwent in the past and what she recently had done that helped her become a mother. I came across an interview from the Today Show that stated her infertility history looks something like this:

Attempting to become pregnant with her sixth, and last child, (she said she didn't want to die knowing she had embryos waiting to become life) she tried two rounds of IVF which were unsuccessful. In June of 2008, her third try, they transferred the last embryos remaining - a total of six. While most people are shocked by this, as the average transferred is typically 1 or 2, a higher number isn't uncommon. Age, embryo quality and failed attempts are all large factors in how many a doctor will transfer. The thought is that sometimes, because of all the various factors that a person faces, they actually need a higher probability of success - in this case that means increasing the odds by transferring more in the hopes that one will implant and grow into a viable pregnancy. For the record, six is also the same amount that they transferred on her two previous unsuccessful tries. The biggest concern here is that because she is only 33, that it isn't "acceptable" for a doctor to transfer that many. That I am certainly no expert on so I will leave it to them to debate. Of course, many are up in arms about who will be paying for these children, but I'd rather not go there. This is an infertility blog :-)

Who knows - maybe one of those babies will grow up to be something truly amazing. You just never know! They're here now and I wish them all the best.

If you're interested in hearing more of the Today show interviews, here are a couple videos on her recent infertility story.

  © Blogger template 'Isolation' by 2008

Back to TOP