We had our IVF consultation today. Everything was going great. Heard about new advances that have occurred since our last IVF. So much can change in this field in just 3 short years. Success rates are significantly improved. What are these advances you ask? Well, Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) has improved so that they are better able to test embryos before transferring them back into the uterus so they can tell which are genetically normal and which are going to lead to extra heartache.
Also, research is showing improved success rates with frozen, as opposed to fresh, embryo transfers. Which I suppose is good as it goes hand in hand with PGS. They have to freeze your embryos to send some cells off for testing, so rather than putting them back for a 3-day or 5-day transfer, you get to wait a week or two for the testing results, then wait a few more weeks to fluff up your uterine lining to make it all cozy and receptive (in other words – more medications), and THEN you thaw the little bundle of cell joy and place it lovingly in the uterus. This frozen embryo transfer (FET), gives your system a bit of time to calm down from the raging insanity that was the stimulation cycle needed to hyperstimulate the ovaries to mature a bunch (hopefully) of eggs, since it take significantly fewer drugs to simply ready the uterine lining.
So there we have it. My reproductive endocrinologist (RE) said that if we can get at least one genetically normal embryo then our chance of success is 80%! He also said my chance of success is “no different than a 29 year old!” Oh good. I’m glad my aging reproductive system gets to re-live it’s heyday.
But there’s more…Since my uterus is “proven” (code for I’ve grown a baby successfully before) that also increases my chance of success. He explained that since a uterus never returns to it’s pre-pregnant size, ahem…that explains a lot, that now I have more real estate on which my em-baby can implant. So it’s all good, except…
Then I asked with a nervous laugh, “well how much worse could my eggs have really gotten in the past 3 years?” Apparently the answer is “a lot”. Um, excuse me? Yeah I know what they say about decreased fertility after age 35 and the rapid decline towards 42. But there are individual differences of course, and I guess I was expecting that it wouldn’t be that bad. Well he drew me a graph and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
So here I sit. Desperate to grow some healthy eggs. I also have endometriosis, which isn’t friendly toward eggs. I had surgery about 2 or 3 months before my first IVF to remove endo. On the plus side, while nursing my daughter, my period didn’t return until 22 months post-partum, so I’ve only had 7 cycles and endo only grows when you have your period, so at least that hasn’t been having it’s way with my eggs for the past 3 years. My RE gave me a list of supplements to take to help improve my egg quality. I bought these pills and organized them into one of those pill boxes with sections for each day (they don’t all fit). Sigh.
The nurse drew blood to test my AMH, which will give us a good indicator of just how my egg reserve is now. I get to wait 2 weeks for the results. I hate this part. The waiting. On the one hand, it’s easy to panic. I’m waiting on this number that will give me the first clue as to how this is going to go. Can I make some normal eggs that will turn into genetically sound embryos? It’s easy to worry. But on the other hand, I just know that there is this little soul out there waiting for me. Waiting to join our family. So, for today, I’m choosing to focus on that and not sweat the details.
One thing I learned the first time around is that those details can and do change on a dime.