My wonderful husband Mark and I have decided that we will pursue gestational surrogacy (discussed more on "Our Bun - Their Oven - Gestational Surrogacy" page). This is awesome! My own child, something that I've never imagined since 1999, well.......a lot.
In July 2013 we attempt our first IVF (discussed more on "On Pins and Needles - IVF" page) cycle in order to retrieve my eggs and fertilize them with Mark's sperm thus producing our own embryo that would be implanted into our gestational surrogate. This should be a piece of cake, right? I mean, I got pregnant on the pill...twice, I should be super fertile right? Ummmmm no. As if having a bum uterus is not the case.
Despite having great Day 3 labs (I was told my levels were closer to that of a 34 year old - Yay me), my first cycle was cancelled due to a poor response :( (I had 2-3 follicles developing and not much more - OK for an IUI cycle but not OK for an IVF cycle).
Why did this happen? Who really knows? Not only is this extremely frustrating, it is also very expensive. Minnesota is not a "mandate state" (http://kff.org/womens-health-policy/state-indicator/infertility-coverage/) meaning that insurance companies are not required to cover infertility treatments. As such, most don't (including ours), and infertility treatments are VERY expensive.
Throughout my life I have attained many things through sheer hard work
and determination. I am a CPA, I have a masters degree, I am a Tax
Director. These things all happened because I studied hard, worked
hard, and applied myself. This was really the first thing that I had
set my sights on that I really couldn't control.
Unfortunately the human body at times can function with no rhyme or reason. And, IVF cycle results often vary from time to time. Maybe it's the weather, or season, or global warming.
It could also be that I was over-suppressed. I was put on the "long-lupron" protocol (http://www.advancedfertility.com/sampleivfcalendar.htm) due to my awesome lab results (this is the protocol most often prescribed for younger women with good lab results). For me, Lupron sucked. BIG TIME. I think my pre-cycle estrogen dipped to negative (kidding, but it was nearly non-existent - I thought PMS made me bitchy but I was no where near prepared for the evil Lupron).
I am now (potentially) diagnosed as a poor responder (http://www.inviafertility.com/conception/drvkarande/finally-a-consensus-definition-of-poor-ovarian-response)
In September 2013 we attempt our second IVF cycle. This time we do the "microdose lupron flare" protocol (http://www.advancedfertility.com/microdose-lupron-flare.htm) due to my previous cancelled cycle. I did respond this time, with very high medication, and produced 10 mature follicles (please keep in mind that to produced 10 mature follicles I required 450-500 doses of Follistim which is considered the max dose - most women would produce 20-30 mature follicles on that kind of dosage). 8 of the 10 matured and only 4 of the 8 made it to day 3.
They recommended freezing at day 3 to reduce embyrro loss (keep in mind that Day 5 embyros are more ideal). Post cycle (to add insult to injury) they mentioned that the embryo quality was not ideal and that we might want to consider an additional IVF cycle to try to produce better quality eggs.
I am now (officially) diagnosed as a poor responder.
My third and hopefully final protocol will be the antagonist protocol (http://www.advancedfertility.com/ivf-stimulation-antagonist.htm). At first I was nervous about a change in protocol since there is a lot of evidence that the "microdose Lupron flare protocol" is THE protocol for poor responders. But, there is a growing amount of evidence that perhaps the Lupron flare protocol can correlate to poor egg quality and that the antagonist protocol has reported as good if not better results for poor responders. Stay turned......
Bad Uterus + Bad Eggs = ?