IVF Questions

I promised On Fecund Thought that I would share our list of questions with her, so here they are! It’s proving to be quite a long list already and our appointment isn’t until 10 September.

  • How many fresh and/or frozen cycles will be funded by the NHS? How much do you charge for private IVF and FET?
  • Why do you think IUI hasn’t worked for me? What percentage of apparently fertile women using donor sperm will end up needing IVF?
  • Should we be concerned about the miscarriages, or are they just ‘one of those things’? Does the fact that I have been pregnant still increase my chances?
  • Is there an increased risk of miscarriage with IVF? I’m aware that IVF pregnancies are more likely to miscarry than natural ones, but I believe this is thought to be because infertile women are more likely to have miscarriages rather than because of the IVF itself – is that correct? Is there any chance that selecting the healthiest embryos will actually reduce my risk of an early miscarriage?
  • What do you think our chances of success are, and what can we do to maximise these? What is the likelihood of no viable pregnancy after several IVF cycles?
  • I’m concerned about my cervix making embryo transfer difficult and reducing our chances. How do you plan to address this? Do you do a mock transfer? Should I be concerned about my tilted uterus for any other reason?
  • What’s my AMH and antral follicle count? (I remember being told my AMH was fine, but I’m starting to worry about my age…)
  • Do I need any further investigations? If not, how soon can we start?
  • Is it safe for me to take a prenatal vitamin, magnesium and omega 3s? Are there any supplements you would or wouldn’t recommend?
  • Do you use the long protocol or the short protocol? I’m concerned about down-regulation – since I have a history of depression, would the short protocol be better?
  • How often would I need to come in for scans?
  • Do you use sedation or GA for egg collection, and can OH be in theatre with me?
  • Do you intend to use standard IVF or ICSI, or does it depend on the quality of the sperm once defrosted?
  • At what stage of development do you transfer the embryos, and do we get a choice in how many are transferred?
  • Is it OK for me to use the progesterone pessaries PR?
  • If a cycle is unsuccessful, how long are we likely to have to wait for a review appointment, and how long before we can try again?
  • If a cycle is cancelled, does it still ‘count’ as an NHS cycle? If a privately funded cycle is cancelled, what are the charges?
  • What are the contact details for your counselling service?
  • How much would it cost to store any remaining embryos for a sibling? Would it be feasible to use these embryos in OH?
  • Is it possible to donate any spare embryos to another couple?

I feel rather sorry for whichever doctor will be on the receiving end of these!

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One Door Closes…

Do I need to write this post, or can you infer what has happened?

Open the dark door to the light.

Image courtesy of winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our sixth and final cycle of IUI went smoothly (no injection issues, ultrasound-guided insemination, no tenaculum) but it wasn’t a success. I’m not pregnant… again. Instead, I have the somewhat dubious honour of being crowned officially infertile.

I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’m pleased to be moving on to IVF. Depending on which statistics you look at, it at least doubles our chances of becoming parents, and OH and I both have hope that it could actually work. She lost faith in IUI a long time ago, and I’d have been ready to stop after attempt #5, if it weren’t for the fact that one more failed cycle would qualify us for free IVF on the NHS. Even the ‘infertile’ label has come as something of a relief to me, as although you could argue our local NHS has set the barrier too low (are six IUIs really equivalent to a straight couple trying for a year?) it seems to give meaning to the devastating year of miscarriages and BFNs and a cancelled cycle that we’ve just been through.

On the other hand, not being able to have a child semi-naturally feels like a big loss. I’m grieving no longer being that girl who got pregnant first time (well, I still did, but…) I’m grieving a year of unsuccessful procedures and heartache. I’m grieving the loss of an easy and straightforward relationship with God: I cry every time I go to church now, sometimes able to hide it, sometimes not. I cried on Sunday because the hymn we were singing happened to contain the words ‘conceived’ and ‘period’… yes, really. And most of all, I grieve for my babies. Every time I see my youngest niece – who looks like me – she reminds me of what my own son or daughter would have been like. Of what should have happened.

I’m coping mostly by throwing myself into Plan B. I have books on IVF, a big long list of questions for our next appointment on 10 September, and I’ve started a healthier diet, cutting back on processed foods and simple carbs. Sometimes this gives me focus and drive but at other times I just need time and space to fall apart. I think in a way it’s harder for my OH, as there’s little she can do to prepare for IVF and she just feels powerless. I know some of you are lesbian couples who’ve experienced pregnancy loss or infertility – do you have any suggestions or know of any resources for the non-bio potential parent?