Had a good meeting with The Russian (my RE) on Friday and she said we had two options moving forward: 1) try again with my eggs or 2) move on to donor eggs. I told her that we’d talked through the use of donor eggs and that we just didn’t see that it was for us. She said she understood but wanted to give us all the information so that we had it since many of her patients ended up changing their minds…especially when they’re down to their last shot (which we’ll be if IVF 3 doesn’t work).
What I learned from that conversation:
1) Chicago is so diverse that you can find pretty much any type of donor you’re looking for, there’s an outside agency they use for this search, and when you look for an egg donor you look for someone you can relate to, who’s from a similar ethnic background, similar education, similar socio-economic background, etc – basically, pretty much you but 22.
2) The donor gets a full medical screening (genetic history, STDs, etc) to ensure their health and the hope is that they’ll produce many, many eggs.
3) Your cycle is synced up with that of the donor, she does the all the meds and monitoring, then after the Egg Retrieval the eggs are fertilized with the man’s sperm, and hopefully a whole mess fertilize.
4) Embryos get transferred to you and extras frozen, so that down the road, you can try a FET (frozen embryo transfer) to give that kid a full sibling.
5) Some costs for the donor are covered by insurance and some aren’t. The Russian estimated that extra fees could range from $6K-$12K.
6) The main thing I learned from our meeting was that it confirmed that it isn’t the direction for us. Using Donor Eggs (DE) is an amazing thing, I think it’s fantastic that it’s the right option for so many people, and I especially love that science brings the opportunity for women who really want to be pregnant an increased chance to be pregnant. But we’ve really gone over this, and we’ve talked through every aspect of it….we’ve talked through it ALOT, and moving forward to get our family our kid will either be all our genetics or none at all, and we’ll love the shit out of them either way. For us it’s more about having a child than being pregnant.
And so we moved on to talking about IVF3 with my eggs.
First we talked about this last cycle, which clearly didn’t go how any of us had hoped. The Russian said there was just a point at which my follicles kind of stalled. (Yep, they did). She still had hopes of getting at least a couple eggs so she opted not to cancel the cycle. (Thankfully, she never mentioned this cancellation possibility during the cycle because that would have stressed the crap out of me). Anyway, she said she can’t fully explain why I didn’t respond as well, but that sometimes the body, even on a natural cycle, has an “off” cycle. Who knows? This IVF business isn’t a lock.
We agreed that the testosterone and estrogen priming is still likely in my favor (at this point I asked about DHEA as a supplement and she said the testosterone patches essentially serve the same purpose) and I asked if we could shorten the time I’m on birth control. These past two IVFs doing 5 weeks of BCP was an eternity and my gut screamed at me that it was too long. I mean, I’m not the doctor, I know nothing…..but it’s worth a shot to try a cycle with only a few weeks of birth control. IVF3 will mimic IVF1 which went a little better (Lupron, Menopur and back to a slightly higher dose of Follistim) and will now also include ICSI and we’ll hope for the best.
She put a number on it all and said she figures we likely have a 15-20% chance, which frankly is ahelluvahlot higher than I would have thought. And, I doubt she’d give us a padded estimate. I was told to wait for my period (which I got with a vengeance yesterday) and then call in (which I’ll do Monday morning) and come in for an initial scan. After that, The Russian’s Right Hand will work up a calendar and I’ll have a timeline for the big show.
We are feeling positive and enjoying a weekend of eating whatever the hell we want. The healthy hammer will fall Monday with the birth control at which point I’ll cut down on some things and fully cut out others, but for now it’s M&Ms, cinnamon rolls and pizza from Pequod’s.