IF and the City

I used to feel sad when I watched the episodes with Charlotte failing over and over again while trying to get pregnant. Little did I know that my own attempts would lead me on the same sad journey. We've now passed 4 years in the trenches. 6 failed IVF/ICSI cycles = nothing. Time for something new - donor eggs. Success at last. Now for round 2.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Review Appointment

So, the 'Review' appointment.

Here I am waiting in the big hospital for my free follow-up and who did I spy rounding the corner, but my old 'Bad News RE' who I refused to see privately.

'Bugger' I specifically waited all this time - because this is the day the 'Best RE In Sydney' is scheduled to see people.

Then my name is called ... by a heavily pregnant female doctor. Right.

'I think I recognise you' she said 'Yeah' I thought, 'you were present in my last retrieval and did my transfer ... that didn't work'.

So getting over the fact that she wasn't 'The Guy', not a guy at all, and not a whiff of a scottish accent, we got on with things.

She noted that normally I saw the other 'BN RE' dude, and apart from my cycle reports, didn't have all my history.

'Yep, well that's because the only solution he has for me is donor eggs, and I didn't need a review with him to hear that again'. (Didn't need to pay him another $200 to hear it either).

'Well that is an obvious next step, and a big one for you to think about'.

So I told her that it was something we had considered and had in fact had a friend that had offered to do that (FYI age 30, 3 kids and finished), but we hadn't followed it up. I didn't speak a word about our International DE option we were pursuing - mainly I think because we have a new RE not connected with this hospital taking care of that.

We went over my protocol, I asked why it had never changed - she did say that the other option was the Antagonist (or Flare) Cycle. It was the one we hadn't tried, and possibly could. I hadn't been put on it before - because I had always had good egg numbers. Boy it sounds like a helluva way to cycle - no synarel though, that has to be a bonus.

I asked her about the 5-day vs 3-day embryo transfer - and basically that's not something they budge on - unless you have very few eggs. They strongly believe in the 5-day transfer, even if you lose all but 2 embryos, they see that the others didn't have good egg energy and wouldn't have stuck. So rather than freezing them and then transferring bodgy embryos, you would have a better chance on another cycle. It speeds up the process and weeds out the weak from the strong (my words).

'But' she said 'if you do want to keep cycling you should have an end in mind, I mean you could cycle another 2 or 3 times if you wanted, but shouldn't be thinking of cycling for say another 6 times'.

'Not on your life'.

Interesting I thought, 'BN RE' wasn't even offering that.

I let her know that originally we only ever thought we'd cycle 6 times, but after our last (fifth), we thought we'd call it a day. I also let her know that we were looking into adoption.

I then asked her about what would happen if we did decide to take our friend up on her offer of eggs - could we do that through this clinic? (The Fertility Unit is run by the big private clinic - but is set up at the public hospital = a quarter of the price). We have cycled there in the past as private patients - all that meant was that we didn't have to go on a waiting list - and we paid abit more money.

What she had to say shocked me. We would first have to go through counselling - long winded process maybe 3 months. Then our donor would cycle, they would retrieve and fertilise her eggs, and all embryos would then be frozen FOR SIX MONTHS before they would be transferred! Apparently this is adhering to the very strict health guidelines - something to do with an infections policy. She added that this was the practise here - being a public facility - but that private practise might not necessarily follow those guidelines (read: DO NOT).

Soooo, if we were interested in doing more cycles with my eggs, while we waited through our donor/adoption stuff that would not be a problem at all. We could start next cycle.

'Ummm I was expecting to see the BREIS' I said to her as I was leaving - 'well I was here so I just took some of the files'.

Right. Life is all about chance isn't it?

So I relay everything that night to Mr. S and he was actually very annoyed about it all. Not often he gets that way.

Mainly he was fired up over their stupid DE policy - 'obviously they're just not even interested in helping people with this'. He thought it was horrible I had to see a pregnant doctor 'Did she see the irony, being counselled about Infertility by a pregnant doctor?'. Well for me it's an automatic response - pregnant woman = ignore it. Horrible isn't it? He also thought I should have told them about our o/s stuff. I told him I just wasn't interested in them knowing everything.

At this point, even though it's great that we've been offered this option to cycle again and again (and using tax payers money), I just don't know if we're interested. Could I bear to go through it again?

Nothing is going to change the quality of my eggs.

I think she offered because even though I'm only in the 10% chance bracket due to age - our morphology issues give us only a 1-2% chance a month naturally. The ol 'problems with both of us' dilemma.

Overall I was happy with how things went. We haven't had the door closed on us, and we now know that if we pursue local DE, we will have to go private.

BTW I'm Golden - this is my 50th post, maybe I can get those big J.Lo gold hoops now!


At April 19, 2006 11:45 pm , Blogger Chee Chee said...

That donor policy is ridiculous! Does that mean you basically have to wait nearly a year before they will transfer embryos from donor eggs? I find this unbelievably frustrating.

Good luck with your next steps.

At April 20, 2006 2:22 am , Blogger fisher queen said...

Congrats on your 50th post, though I wish you were posting about better news. You've got a really complicated set of choices in front of you. I wish it were easier.

At April 20, 2006 4:15 am , Blogger Millie said...

That donor policy is completely ludicrous.

If you decide to do another cycle or two on your own the antagonist protocol might just be the ticket. I know a lot of REs here believe that it improves egg quality.

Enjoy those big gold hoops.

At April 20, 2006 4:46 am , Blogger Pamplemousse said...

I think you should give the Antagon cycle one last go-round. I have seen great results for women who thought that it was over in terms of IVF for them.

However, it is your body and I am sure you have your own thoughts on the way forward for you guys. Either way, I hope you can get a clear run at it!

At April 21, 2006 1:12 pm , Anonymous Manuela said...

Hey!!! We bloggers should most DEFINITELY come up with the official gift list for blogiversaries!!! Congrats.

Otherwise... well... crap. I'm running out of words... I hate that I'm even having to come up with new ways to say 'that sucks'.

At April 23, 2006 4:15 am , Blogger Thalia said...

What a pain that she picked your file. Although she doesn't sound awful, just perhaps not as helpful as the other guy would have been. I'm glad you have options

At April 24, 2006 8:45 am , Anonymous Lori said...

Congrats on post #50.
While it can be nice to have more options - it really does make the decision process that much trickier. I am glad that it was a good meeting even if not with the RE of choice.

At April 27, 2006 9:59 am , Anonymous Erin said...

Yo... you are TAGGED... see my site for details.

At April 28, 2006 10:28 pm , Blogger Ova Girl said...

Hey! Happy 50th Sparkle! You've done well!

At April 28, 2006 11:40 pm , Anonymous Leggy said...

Hi- came here via your comment at Thalia's place. You said you had ACA's- do you know what your levels were? Mine were 13, and the RE said this was a concern, but my primary care doc said a low positive doesn't even start until the levels are around 40. I was hunting around in your archives to see if you discussed in more detail, but I couldn't find.

I'm sorry to hear about your father. My mother has a chronic, ultimately terminal illness and its stressful. She's in fairly good health now, but we really don't know what we're dealing with long term. I hope that he finds a treatment that works for him.
Good luck making the DE vs. another IVF decision. Its tough sorting through all this.

At April 29, 2006 8:21 pm , Blogger Sparkle said...

Hi Leggy,
My levels were lower than 13. When I did the Miscarriage Management Program (after a MSC and 3 failed IVFs), this was the only thing that came back slightly abnormal. Even then it was something like 5, so was considered borderline. The RE recommended Heparin pretty much to rule it out as a complication. Interesting when I went back to my original RE, my first test was also slightly elevated (and ignored). This RE told me that what would normally happen is if you get a successful fetilisation and implantation - then you might start monitoring the ACA level - because the pregnancy hormones can have an effect that cause it to rise (resulting in the clotting stopping implantation and causing MSC). Therefore in our case our 'natural conception' could have miscarried due to the ACA's elevating without us knowing. Sorry this is long-winded, so for us, we were recommended to do the shots at transfer - and then if we did have a great embryo that implanted - we were covered. Unfortunately, our embryos haven't implanted.

At May 01, 2006 8:02 am , Blogger MC said...

I didn't know about the donor policy. I don't think my clinic has the 6 month wait.
Congrats on 50th post.


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