Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Why we went from OE to Donor Embryos back to OE
I wanted to write something about why things worked out for us in this weird order.
- At first the doctors gave us only a slim chance at our own IVF working, because of my repeated FSH levels. They were all shocked at how high my FSH was for my age.
- We decided to do a "closure" IVF cycle anyways. We had the money and our doctors agreed to this because I was in my twenties. Under a mild dose of stims I produced 4 follicles.
- On the night of what I thought was going to be the egg retrieval, my sister had her stroke. The cycle was cancelled.
- Later I learned that this was just what the nurse called a practice cycle. They wanted to only do an an IUI. They wanted to amp up my meds for the next real IVF. This was not told to us in advance and I don't think I would have ever agreed to a practice cycle due to the cost of the meds and the fact that D's sperm count is very low. It was one of a few scary reasons why moved away from this clinic.
- During the stressful time of my sister's stroke, I decided that my response to the IVF wasn't good enough to proceed. That if it did work it might only work once. And I wanted more than one child, and it would be nice if those children were genetically related to each other. I didn't care if they were related to us. I decided (and D agreed) that we would move onto the option of magic donor embryos, the option originally suggested to us by clinic #1 before we did our closure IVF.
- We spent what felt like hundreds of years (really just 6-8 months) completing our home study and adoption course (required where I live) which was required to adopt the embryos through Nightlight.
- We adopted our first set of embryos (only 2 embryos, of which 1 survived the thaw). They didn't take.
- We quickly adopted a second set of embryos. The last of 6 embryos we got resulted in a twin miscarriage at 8 weeks.
- Later we learned that the donor family from match #2 experienced chronic miscarriages. I now believe based on embryology reports and their history that they had an embryo quality issue on top of some other ones with her uterus.
- After the last miscarriage, the doctor suggested (surprising us) that we try OE. He had heard of DHEA supplementation helping some women. Also, several times through my monitoring they were noticing some of my own follicles. My age was a driving force behind this decision for the doctor, because at the time I was 31. I was reminded of my response to the small dose of meds that I took at clinic 1. They thought it was promising. We agreed to try, because we didn't want to do donor embryos anymore.
- At the time we thought we would pursue traditional adoption concurrently, but we decided it was too much at once. Also, our social worker did not want us to do both at the same time. So we didn't pursue the adoption.
- That IVF cycle produced a better response than we ever expected - we made 6 blasts that survived to transfer. One resulted in a pregnancy, which I lost at 5 weeks. Another was a negative and one had HCG of 1.0. I don't even know if I could call that a chemical. But something was trying to happen.
- At my request, I had a panel done for repeat losses. I tested positive for one mutation of the MTHFR gene. Dr. Schoolcraft says that up to 40% of the population could have this mutation and it is not a factor in my miscarriages. Everything else was clear.
- I did some more research and learn how hard it actually can be to get pregnant with donor embryos due to quality issues. We have limited emotional energy left, for what we feel are not great chances, so we close this door.
- The doctor at my second clinic that (did my IVF) started to suggest things that made me feel like the doctor is grasping at straws. Dr. Schoolcraft called some of my protocols "voodoo". I was scared of the risks of the things he was suggesting and his lack of experience in those areas (I didn't want to be his first IVIG patient - no thanks).
- We decided to get one final opinion from CCRM.
- Dr. S at CCRM thinks we have an embryo quality issue with our past losses, not a uterus issue. He is most worried about my highest FSH number, and wonders about my egg quality. He says if we can get one normal embryo (as determined by CCS), that he would give us a 50% chance of success in that cycle. He said he didn't know if we make normal embryos. He thought we might get one from one cycle of IVF. He said that if we can do 2 IVFs that it would be reasonable to proceed with this option. He gives us an 80% chance of success with donor egg.
- We decide to do one more IVF because we feel we were close with our last IVF. I feel like the 2 (maybe 3) pregnancies we had were evidence that my body DOES want to grab a hold of the little embies. It does want to be and stay pregnant. I think the embryos just weren't a good enough quality to survive.
- We think the slight change of protocols, the greatly improved lab with the CCS could make the difference for us. Our last IVF with 6 embryos was the biggest factor for moving forward.
- We decide that we will quickly move to DE if our embryos are not good from the CCS.
- I have a laparoscopy and it shows that my uterus looks great. The doctor tells us that if we can put a normal embryo in there he feels we have a good chance of it working.
- Now we have been sidelined with two cysts and I'm wondering if this was all a big mistake. D's getting exhausted from this all (as I am). I know in his heart, D doesn't think that DE will be any different. He thinks we have a uterus problem. I don't. I think that we have an embryo quality issue not a carrying issue. This is why I'm hesitant to move on to traditional adoption. I want the experience of carrying. I feel like IF has ripped everything away from us that was natural and good about this baby making process. I just want this one thing to be "normal".