First Time Ever

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.

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21 thoughts on “First Time Ever

  1. It is wonderful and a blessing for you to have these options–but I don’t envy the choices you are forced to make. I hope the answer becomes very clear to you and lifts the burden off your shoulders. XO

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  2. I agree that it’s a good idea to gather information, and start thinking about the direction you want to take. But ultimately it’s your body, your life, and you shouldn’t let any doctor pressure you into a decision you’re not comfortable with or not ready for. I’m confident that you will find the path that is right for you.

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  3. You are so thorough- I’m glad you’re getting all sorts of opinions and advice and education. So many tough decisions for you and Bob. A verse that I always tried to turn to when I am unsure of which path to take is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your path straight.” For me, easier said than done, but it helped remind me of what was really important. God won’t keep you wondering which road to take!

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  4. Egg do action is a huge decision and I wish you luck and clarity! I would recommend “having your baby through egg donation” – in my opinion it was by far the most thorough and useful book on the topic!

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  5. I am sorry you’re having to face all of these tough decisions. I hope you are able to choose a path you feel at peace with and it leads you to your baby. ((((HUGS))))

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  6. The decision making (I think) is the hardest part of the plan. Once you decide what is right for you, for now, you will feel a sense of control. At least, that’s how it’s been for me. Without a plan (and with multiple options), it sometimes feels like free falling through space. I was told by a doctor last year that I should proceed to DE as well, and for reasons I still haven’t figured out, it pushed me into a very sad place. Then I had a vivid dream and felt like it wasn’t time yet to make that decision. And that’s what made me switch doctors. There is something to be said for going with your gut, though I know it’s so hard in IF to tell what your gut is telling you vs. what you are hoping hard for. Sending you good strong vibes to help you figure out exactly where and what your next step will be. FWIW, there are some good book titles listed on here: http://www.parentsviaeggdonation.org/booksliterature.php
    XO

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  7. It’s a very difficult decision, I know. My FSH was 2.3 but estradiol was 375 (masking a really high FSH), amh was less than .16. I was making this same decision a few months back. Several RE’s told me that my chances of a pregnancy with my own eggs was “slim to none”. I decided to do 3 IUI’s before moving onto IVF and since we could barely afford any of this, we decided that if the IVF didn’t work, we would go to donor eggs. I did herbs, acupuncture, yoga, supplements but pretty much expected to be doing IVF this summer. As it turned out, the 2nd IUI took and I’m 17 weeks along now. No one was more shocked than me. The weird thing was- as soon as I had it in my head that I could always do donor eggs, the tension started to fade. My acupuncturist would always say, “its in God’s hands…”

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  8. Oh girl thinking about you!!!! Hope you have some sweet time with Jesus while making your decisions – that you put your hope in Him and not in the numbers or doctors report!! His word is truth and trumps everything else!

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  9. I think the nice thing about DE is that you don’t have to make the decision right away, because the egg quality isn’t diminishing. You can take several months to decide if/when it’s the right next step. I have some thoughts about banking eggs, one there’s an 85% thaw rate and we found that any eggs that matured overnight do not survive the thaw. I wonder if we had done a fresh IVF cycle that time if we would have had a better shot at those eggs. As I’ve loudly stated, I’m done with my eggs after this cycle–6 cycles, 12 eggs, 1 blastocyst. It’s too much money in my opinion (and we don’t really have money issues). And secondly, we’re really ready to start our family, and if this cycle doesn’t work out, DE is the fastest way to make that happen. But, we’re in a different circumstance where we’ve already come to terms with using donor gametes. But you absolutely need to do what is right for you, and what is in your heart. And the DE will still be waiting when/if you ever get to that point.

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  10. My DH and I are treading the DEIVF path. We have had 3 failed IVF cycles, and I have a diminished ovarian reserve. When they could squeeze a couple of eggs out of me, they were generally of poor quality. I have only ever had two embryos to transfer – but no take home baby.

    The truth of situations like ours is, we will never be ready to give up on our own eggs. I still have angst about whether we are doing the right thing… That maybe just one more cycle of IVF will mean I can have a baby that carries my genetics too. But I know in my heart, that every day that passes, my eggs that are already in poor condition, just get older, more wizened, less useful.

    What I do know is that having a donor egg baby will allow me to experience evrything. To bond with that little person from the moment the embryo is placed inside me. My body will nourish it, determine how it grows on it’s way to birth. And once it’s born, it will still be my body that nourishes it, me and DH that hold it when it cries, love it unconditionally, that will be the only parents it will ever need.

    My DH said the other night “what does genetics have to do with parenting”… And he’s totally right. We have adopted children in our wider family that are no different from any other member of the family. Genetics doesn’t make a parent, love does. And at least with DEIVF you have a truly strong hand in their creation.

    No one can make this decision but you… And it’s not a decision that can be rushed. But if you’re waiting for the day you’ll be done trying with your own eggs… That day will likely never come.

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    • I disagree with the last poster. I was definitely ready to stop cycling with my OEs. In fact, that was 2 years ago right now– I was in the 2WW following IVF 4 and I knew I was done. I do agree that not all DOR is equal. Similar to you, we got 7 eggs across 4 IVFs. We never had a decently graded embryo– certainly never a blast. In fact, 2 transfers with only at 2 days.. I reached the point where I was scared to try again bc I didn’t feel like any embryo would be healthy and that was worse for me than stopping. But everyone has to get their on their own. I can tell you that I couldn’t care less that my twin girls are not my genetics. They are my babies through and through. I will warn that DE is not always a quick fix– it took me 2 years from stopping with OEs to finally be pregnant now. The 2 years of DE were actually harder than my 2 years of OE cycling. Wishing you good luck making your decision on what to so next. Fwiw, I completely disagree with Dr Z about high stim not frying eggs. They killed mine…

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      • Actually, maybe I didn’t word my post quite right… I did get to the point where I didn’t want to put my body through any more cycles. It’s so hard on me physically that I have had enough of that… But I still have this wistful feeling that if I could suck it up and have one more go I might just get a useful embryo from my own eggs.

        And I absolutely agree regarding high stims frying eggs. My last cycle was super high stims for a long period of time. We got five eggs… The most ever! But they were very poor quality and none fertilised… Our worst result and I put it squarely on the egg quality being affected by the stims.

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  11. So much to think about, but good you have options. And encouaging to know that your uterus will be the same a year from now. Gives you time to really consider things. Thinking of you. None of these decisions are easy.

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  12. Even when you anticipate what a health care professional will say, it’s still tough to process once the words are spoken. I knew what was coming when my cat went in for his ultrasound, but it will still a shock to hear the vet say “we found a mass…”
    It’s also hard when you get conflicting opinions, echoing others, I think you have to know in your gut who you’re inclined to accept.
    Also, when he was recommending my Day 3 transfer, my RE proclaimed that he’d make the same recommendations if I were a member of his family…

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  13. Oh what a tough decision to think about and decide. I know how hard it is to hear the reports, numbers and statistics but always go where the Holy Spirit is leading you. God is bigger than anything the doctors say but you already know that 🙂 Never forget the verse Matthew 19:26…Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”. Keep your faith and hope alive in Him…He will give you the desires of your heart. 🙂 xo

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  14. This is the agony of DOR. I’ve always said that I almost wish that I’d had full-blown POF, because at least then there would be zero chance with my own eggs and I wouldn’t have to make a decision about whether to take a slim chance on them. It’s so hard to walk away from your own eggs, especially if a medical professional is giving you options. You will always get different opinions. For me, I just knew when I was done with my own eggs. I couldn’t deal with the disappointment of craptastic cycles anymore. You seem to have more in you to chase this down. We’re all different.

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  15. Hi there! My name is Heather and I wanted to know if you would be willing to answer a question I have about your blog! My email is Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com 🙂

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