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??!!

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