Well….

Turns out three of the immature eggs that were icsi’d ALL fertilized. That means I have four embryos vitrified at day 2. I had a regroup with Dr. Schoolcraft who basically said that we were straddling both cohorts of eggs – one was going fast and the others slow. He had to make a call to either push for more or settle for the five that we had…..and of course he blamed the lack of fertilization on my poor egg quality. I know my body best and will have to disagree….I mean, I’m sure the eggs of a 41 year old are not exactly fresh but I don’t think the lack of fertilization had anything to do with that. We will do another cycle at CCRM with a change in protocol (probably beginning in June). Next month I am going to do a low drug stimulation (150 gonal F and 150 menopur) and then do an IUI. That is how I got pregnant in November so why not give it a go!?

I had a long chat with my old RE in NYC who told me that he believes testing can throw out perfectly good eggs. He actually said that a few times when people had come in to his practice wanting to do gender selection that he found a large percentage of them had all abnormal cycles. No normals – like me! He said that on one occasion they put the abnormals back in and got….a normal baby. Now my head is reeling…

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7

What is with this number… Every single time I have done IVF I have had 7 (except RBA). At least I am consistent.

I am waiting for the fertilization report – trying to remind myself that we had great fertilization with ICSI every single time (except RBA).

I’m planning to take a month off and go back in June for another cycle – bundle the eggs together for testing and then we will have a 6-8 week wait for the results. I’m nervous. It won’t be until September at the earliest before I have a transfer.

I originally thought I might do a few IUIs in between the wait for the results but I can’t really afford to have another miscarriage – mentally or physically. So I’ll wait, and hope I have one normal in there.

My friend had a great cycle but unfortunately only 2 of her 9 embryos fertilized normally. She is devastated….all the money, time and hope. She will try again if this doesn’t work out but it is sad. It was most likely a sperm issue – what a horrible result on the best ever cycle for her.

IVF is by no means guaranteed solution – it is a maddening, horrible process that sometimes leaves you with nothing except an empty bank account. The odds are sometimes brutally against us (to be honest, I did not even ask what mine were because I am sure they are something like 20% or less). Dr. Schoolcraft can be doom and gloom so I think it has been very important for me to take what he says with a grain of salt. If he didn’t think he could get me pregnant I wouldn’t be cycling there. That is something to hold on to.

The worst blogger in the world

I apologize. I have had time on my hands but apparently no time to post… This cycle is the the most bizarre of my entire career as an IVFer. I started off slow, few follicles, estrogen level LOW (I mean LOW). Slow to rise and beyond frustrating. The higher your estrogen (as a rule of thumb) the more follicles in your ovaries. After 6 days of high dose stimulation medication (enough to wake up the ovaries of my dead grandmother) my estrogen was at 270. Which means I had very little going on. That was Saturday. By Monday I’d reached a whopping 590. Wednesday – 790..and today up to 1200. I have four decent size follicles on my right side and 1 on my left (ONE!!!). There are few more smaller ones on each side. My response has been dismal. What looked like a promising antral follicle count has turned into my worst cycle on record (so far).

Anyway – my nurse keeps telling me to calm down but the truth is that we have just paid 25K dollars to find out that this might never work for us. Actually, we paid 25K dollars to find out that we have to spend another 25K dollars to do another cycle so that I can have enough embryos for genetic testing. We need six embryos…and I am not likely to have more than 2 or 3. It might take just one but I am not likely to have many normal embryos (given my history). I may not have any at all left – but we are about to find out. The testing will take about six weeks to get results – in that time I will most likely return to cycle again and combine my embryos for testing at the same time. Apparently the success rate of transferring a PGS (pre implantation genetic screening) normal embryo is 22% for polar body biopsy (this is where they test the egg for all of it’s chromosomes and is done with older patients such as myself) or 65% with one embryo and 80% for 2 normal embryos with CGH. In order to do a CGH biopsy your embryo needs to survive in the dish for 5 days. I might not have any embryos that make it that far…but I have before. They pushed me to do polar body biopsy but I refused. I know I can make blasts and…if i can’t then that is even more information that I need to determine our next steps. So we’ll try to grow the embryos to blast and if they do not survive we will send out their remains to be tested.

So it has been a stressful time for me – this cycle is going to determine whether or not we keep going with IVF..or if we should be thinking of other options. I cannot keep doing IVF after IVF – spending mountains of cash and having this same result. I also cannot just randomly put embryos back into my uterus knowing that they might well cause me more miscarriages which will cause untold damage to my uterus (not to mention my psyche).

As for Denver – I’ve had a fun time. I met up with someone from the fertility boards that I post to and we decided to be roomates. We are staying at the Inverness which is a hotel/conference center. I have to say that I am very glad that I met Sherry. She is a fun girl with a lot of energy….a true New Yorker…you know, the kind who makes friends with everyone and the lampost too…the kind who doesn’t mind sending her food back 50 times until it is right and ask for a discount from every person she meets along the way. I love her. Sherry is a few years older than me and is having her best cycle to date after taking the growth hormone Saizen. I wish I had done the same…but figured with 19 antrals that I did not need it. She is triggering tonight and I bet she gets at least 15/20 eggs (her highest yield prior to taking saizen has been 8 with the average being around 5). Amazing.

I trigger tomorrow night for an early Sunday retrieval. We are looking for 5 and praying for 8.

How I keep doing this I will never know – but I think it has something to do with a little blonde 2 year old boy who cannot, must not bury me and his father alone.

Ok – I disappeared

There were reasons…quite a few but the big one is that I was getting a little tired of dwelling on it. While I was waiting to cycle (delayed one month by a bad cold my little boy gave me!) I decided to live my life a little bit. I’m just starting a cycle, actually. Today is day 4 of stims and tomorrow I am headed to Denver. By myself. I’m sort of excited about spending a week by myself but I’m also filled with nervousness about leaving my son. He is two now and has terrible separation anxiety. I’ll be gone for a week. I also have terrible separation anxiety, it seems.

Anyway – I started the estrogen priming protocol. I had 8 antral follicles at my one day work up which is DISMAL for me. You can expect to get as many eggs as baseline antral follicles. I want to CGH – test the chromosomes so I need and want more! I also have a record of producing abnormal embryos so… need more than 8. Thankfully on Sunday 19 antral follicles appeared as if by magic. I don’t even know what to think – could I actually produce that many eggs. I highly, highly doubt it. But if so….I’ve got a lot of questions for my other REs.

The fact is – my fertility has gone off a cliff in the past year. I’m on the road to depletion of my ovarian reserve – like most 41 year olds. But I have hope! My dear friend J (I won’t post her name) has recently become pregnant by CGH – and it is looking like twins. She is 41.5 – retrieved about 40 eggs total and only two of them were normals…both went back in two weeks ago and she got a positive beta (and a high beta!) yesterday. To say I am thrilled is putting it lightly.

So I have hope…

I’ll post from Colorado.