Right after I published the last post, Bob and I had a phone consultation with Dr. Z. A bit over a year ago before any of the IVF cycles, we chatted with him about potentially cycling with him. He suggested that we do two to three egg retrievals, freeze the eggs for the first couple of times, thaw the eggs during the last retrieval, ICSI all of the mature eggs, and do CCS testing on them. I remember that the cost was about $35000. Since we had never done a cycle before, I wasn’t going to commit to paying him so much money not knowing what was going to happen. I wanted to try a cycle first. At that time, my antral follicle count was about 6 to 8. So I wanted to see how I responded to the stimulation.
Well, we all know how poorly I responded.
Cycle 1: four eggs, 3 fertilized, one embryo left
Cycle 2: four eggs, 2 fertilized, no embryos left
Cycle 3: one follicle, converted to IUI, BFN
Cycle 4: one follicle, two eggs (go figure), one embryo left
So however you look at it, I am a very poor responder. I feel that not all diagnosis with diminished ovarian reserve is created equally. Some people with the same diagnosis can create six to eight eggs each time and will have at least couple if not more embryos to work with. For me, out of four cycles, we made ten eggs and two embryos. From whatever angle, this is a pathetic performance.
So this is the history. Dr. Z is well aware of it. He said, “Looks like you have been busy since we last spoke about a year ago.” No kidding, doctor. He went on to ask what Dr. E recommended as the next step. I didn’t tell him that Dr. E thinks that egg donation is not imminent. She thinks that we can continue to try with my own eggs and see what happens. The last two cycles my FSH were 14 and 17, but my estradiol is higher than what she wanted. To her, any of my cycles with these numbers will yield one viable embryo.
Dr. Z was gentle but straight forward. He thinks that I should pursue egg donation at this point.
When I heard those words, I oddly felt fine. My heart skipped a beat. My cheeks were blushed a little and I felt very warm. It was a strange reaction on my part. I guess since I have wondered about whether or not egg donation is my next step, it was not totally surprising to hear it say out loud to me by a medical professional. But it was still a surreal experience since no one had ever uttered those words to me. None of the doctors that I talked with before ever told me that I needed to pursue donor eggs. So here it is. June 21 of 2014, for the first time ever, I was told that egg donation is the logical next step for my take home baby.
Although I wasn’t surprised to hear him say those words, I was still hoping that he would suggest a protocol that could create more eggs. I still haven’t given up hope of using my own eggs to achieve a pregnancy. Not being surprised. But it doesn’t mean it was a very good feeling to have crappy eggs and a very low chance of conceiving using them.
Dr. Z didn’t sound very optimistic about Dr. Y’s clinic in Irvine. He thinks that it’s the best whenever you can get more eggs. He thinks that there is no such thing as high stims frying the eggs. (I am sure many ladies who bank their embryos with low stims and Dr. Y. will beg to differ.) He said I can try that, but the more estrogen I put into my body, the bigger my fibroids may grow. So the sooner I try to get pregnant (with donor eggs), the better for me to avoid enlarging my fibroids to a point where I may need surgery.
I asked him about the state of my uterus. Will my uterus change significantly if I did a donor egg cycle right now versus a year from now? He thinks that it makes no difference. My uterus will not deteriorate like the ovaries.
He said that if I were his sister or daughter, he would recommend the same thing given my history and the state of my ovaries. D. Y also said the same thing, that he would recommend going to his clinic for mini-IVF if I were his sister or daughter. Why do doctors all say that???
Dr. Z went on to explain the difference between fresh donor eggs and frozen donor eggs. He subsequently emailed me many documents to read about this topic.
Bob can go either way. He asks if I want the fastest way to have a baby. Somehow I just feel that I am not quite done with my own eggs. However, going to Irvine and banking embryos takes a long time. If using my own eggs fails, then we are looking into starting donor egg cycle in a year. Do I want to wait a year knowing that the chances of me getting pregnant with my own eggs are slim. But… do I put my trust in statistics or do I put my trust in God, if I pray and feel that God is pointing me to one direction? How do I remain hopeful and faithful in this situation?
This is a tough one. I just don’t feel complete if I don’t give my eggs another honest try before I say I have done everything I can. Am I being a fool? I guess it’s a very personal decision. And it’s really hard to balance being realistic vs. believing in the supernatural that only God can accomplish.
Good thing Dr. Z is only one doctor. And his opinion is just one person’s opinion. I still have to talk to a few more doctors. We are not making a decision until then. But I feel that it’s good to gather all the information. So I will also speak with Dr. Z’s nurse and financial person in a few weeks. I also purchased the book “Insider’s Guide To Egg Donation”. I feel better being equipped with the knowledge so that we can make an informed decision in the future.