Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Worst News I've Ever Received...



I don’t even know where to begin with this.  My heart has shattered into one million pieces and I’m just devastated.  I thought that this appointment was going to turn our journey around, it did, but in a direction I just wasn’t ready to hear at all.  We had our follow up with Dr. LdM on Monday and he informed us that he believes my egg quality is poor and that we need to consider donor eggs (DE).  I’m sure the color quickly drained from my face as my heart hit the floor.  I never thought that I would have an egg quality issue.  Not for one minute did I ever consider that to be the problem.

Our cycle was reviewed by the team and everything about this cycle was perfect except when it came to the embryos.  He said that they were not maturing as they should be and we should’ve had more than 1 that was high grade.  What’s really confusing to me is how did I go from 34 eggs retrieved last cycle, 21 fertilized and 7 make it to 5-day blastocysts and this time have 10 eggs (less medication, hence less eggs) retrieved and none make it to 5 day??  I am more lost and confused than I have ever been.  Did my egg quality really decrease that drastically in one year?  

I am not ready to accept DE.  I cannot fathom looking at my child and having it be MY husbands sperm combined with someone I don’t even know or someone that I do know that had to do my job for me.  It just makes me sick to even consider at this point.  I don't know if I would ever be able to rid myself of the jealousy and resentment that at this point, I know I would feel towards my donor.  I may have to come to terms with all of this if it ends up being our only option, but for right now, DE is out.  The doctor seems to think that the genetic make up of the child is no big deal because without me and my desire to become a mother, the child wouldn’t even exist, but I bet his children are biologically his so I’m not sure he can really understand that. 

I know that there are many amazing women who have done DEIVF and I can’t even begin to comprehend their strength, it’s beyond something I am probably capable of.  I’m not sure it would ever be something I could accept.  I am not ready to give up on my eggs and I still feel like we should explore the other options we have. 

Option number one is to return to our previous clinic where our 4 frozen embryos remain.  They are “good” quality 5-day blastocysts.  I inquired into more detail about what “good” means to them, I want grades and % fragmentation.  I feel as though we should definitely be using these embryos before we were to even consider egg donation.  Who’s to say that these wouldn’t work?  If we went through 2 frozen cycles of 2 embryos transferred and neither of those cycles worked we would have had a total of 9 embryos transferred back & fail, that would be a substantial indication that we need to move forward with another option.

Option number two is to try and improve egg quality.  I asked my previous doctor if we could include a 90 day protocol of DHEA, CoQ10, Melatonin, L ’Arginine, and possibly Human Growth Hormone before starting a fresh cycle with them.  I can’t give up on my eggs without trying to improve their quality first.  I know that he doesn't often agree to anything that doesn't have any scientific backing behind it, but the nice thing is that these are all over the counter supplements (minus the HGH) that I could easily put myself on for 90 days prior to starting another fresh cycle.

Option number three is to look into a new doctor for a 3rd opinion.

Option number four is egg donation--for those of you who aren't familiar with what egg donation is, basically you find a donor based on their looks, interests, etc. and you use their eggs along with your husbands sperm (as long as his sperm doesn't have any issues).  The child would have no biological ties to me, only to my husband & the donor--an extremely hard notion for me to accept.  These cycles can be anywhere between 15k-25k depending on your state and other factors.  Even donors who "gift" their eggs to the recipient have to endure a multitude of physical and psychological testing all paid for by the recipient.  Unfortunately, none of this is covered by insurance and most donors that are provided through an agency receive compensation of around $5,000.  It's a financial nightmare that I'm not sure we would be able to take on in addition to a brand new house payment, car payments, etc. etc. 

This has been a lot to take in.  It was a total shock and it was not something I was prepared to deal with hearing at all.  I want to be hopeful for our frozen embryos, but I also need to begin preparing myself mentally, and financially for the possibility of donor eggs.  Although we aren't ready to give up on my eggs, I still think it's important to start coming to terms with all of the things that donor cycle will entail, especially the part about not having my own biological child.  To some people that is no issue at all, their focus is on becoming a mother and I whole-heartedly agree with that, but if you have kids, or you want kids, imagine how it would feel to be told, "your eggs are not capable of producing a sufficient embryo and you need to use another women's eggs if you ever want children"... for me those words make me feel inadequate as a woman and overwhelmingly jealous of the women who can so easily provide their DNA to our situation.  I could drive myself crazy thinking about the whole thing.  I know that the road to parenthood just got a lot longer for us, but we are not ready to give up this fight and I know that we will do what's best for us in our hearts.  

34 comments:

  1. Whew girl!!! Thanks for sharing even though SO hard! We were told the same thing (about sperm) and you are right - not what anyone ever wants to hear. I am NOT giving up hope. Take your time as you make your decision. We are all waiting here for you no matter what route you take!

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  2. Well, I'm with you on the whole not expecting that from your doctor... I am shocked because of your previous cycle. :( In my own opinion I really don't think you should give up! Whether it be another fresh cycle or using those frozen embryos... Have you had immune testing? I can't remember if I read that you had. I recently had it and found I have many many issues that COULD be impacting on implantation... You probably already have but I thought I'd ask. There are so many inspiring stories of women that have turned their egg quality around. Heaps of CoQ10, Royal Jelly, Vitamin E and that DHEA stuff too. I'm sure a doctor will be able to recommend for you & even dr Google for some inspiration ;) I have heard the best things about CoQ10. There's still time. Good things take time. And you are going to be the best Mother because of it. Please keep your chin up and fighting the good fight, you two will get through this! I just hate that you have to. Thank you for sharing Hun xx

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  3. Girl. I can't even imagine how you must be feeling... and I don't think your doctor could even relate, even if he tried. I'm not going to stop believing that you'll be a momma soon - in any which way youre most comfortable. Courtney, who blogs at at A+ Life, wrote a blog post about what she did to improve egg quality (http://www.apluslife.net/)... I would contact her if you have questions. She's the sweetest ever! In fact, I know she read a book that gave some tips. I think I may even check it out sometime. Also - I think you're wise to consider using the other embryos first! Girl, I am praying so much for you. Youre on my mind a lot. I am believing in Jesus' love for you, that he will follow through and give you the desires of your heart. Otherwise, he would take those desires away. I am believing so hard girl!!!! XO

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  4. So very sorry again for the tough news you received. If you have remaining embryos at your other clinic I say go for it! The very fact that they did make it to day 5 is a great sign. Perhaps you can thaw, biopsy, do PGS, and then transfer? Knowing you can make chromosomally normal embryos would be huge. Keeping you in my thoughts xoxo

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  5. I found your blog a few weeks ago while preparing for my first FET and have since experienced my very first IVF failure, which felt so different from the other failures I am experienced in my life.
    I know I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through, but I will say this... I think you are 100% correct to not give up on your eggs. Even if you do end up going that route, you have to know in your heart that you have tried literally everything else. If there is one thing I've learned lately, it is that every doctor and every clinic has a completely different opinion and different reason/ excuse as to why a cycle fails. The fact is there are just a lot of unknowns in all this and it sucks (!!) but that also means that a lot of doctor's recommendations are just guesses. If I were you I would seek out as many opinions as possible. The notion that your egg quality reduced so drastically within a year just seems illogical and a little too convenient.
    Have you discussed possibly adding omnitrope (human growth hormone) to your protocol? I know it's typically used in over 35+ women, but I have a friend who is 28 and her first retrieval yielded a lot of embryos that were not great quality. After adding in omnitrope her numbers stayed the same but the embryo quality was drastically improved. That is just one example, but I'm sure there are a lot of other meds out there worth trying.
    After my appt on Monday with my current RE, she basically said there was not much we could change in my protocol and it was just a matter of trying until it works (so many things went wrong/ less than desirable). I went to a different RE yesterday who had a completely different opinion, asked questions i had never been asked and wants to try a whole new approach. On Monday I felt absolutely hopeless and desperate, and after yesterday I had faith that maybe a new perspective could make the difference.
    Ok, I'm rambling here... but the point is, research some experts and talk to them. I would definitely consider having a skype session with CCRM since they are supposedly the best and just learning as much as you can. Also, on the point of CCRM, they include supplements as part of their protocal, and if that's the gold standard in IVF care, it's worth considering. (I'm not going there, have just read a lot about their approach!) So many doctors get stuck in their own ways and if there isn't enough research they don't recommend it, but I think there are probably a lot of extra variables that they are deterring us from using in the meantime.

    Good luck!! Sending you hugs & positive energy!

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  6. I'm shocked! My heart breaks for you but you sound to be looking at the right things. I would not give up either. There have to be other options. I think for me if it came down to DE or nothing I'd probably adopt. That way both my husband and I would be loving a child that we have neutral ties to. You are amazing and you will find the strength you need to go through whatever you choose. I'm here for you. Lean on those of us that are here for yoou. You are not alone.

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  7. Wow... I think option two sounds good, judging on how you feel about a donor egg at this point. But honestly, I think there is NO way that you wouldn't love a baby that your body protected and grew for 9 months. Absolutely no way. IDGAF what science says, that baby would be yours. I think between the option of a sperm donor and an egg donor, I would definitely go with DE.

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    1. Loved this comment haha! And I agree... I really think you'd fall head over heels for that baby inside you, even if it was a donor egg. XOXO

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  8. I'm truly sorry you are going through this tough time. I wouldn't trow in the towel either on your eggs just yet. I've read some blogs of women who try to improve their egg quality and end up with success. Its definitely worth a try. Also transferring your remaining embryos sounds like a great idea. As for you not being comfortable with DE it's completely understandable when we first started fertility treatment J told me the same thing. He wouldn't be ok with donor sperm since he wasn't sure he would be able to connect with a child he knew didn't carry his DNA.

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  9. Hey Elena. First off- I'm so so so so sorry. My heart breaks for you and everything that you are going through. It is seriously unfair and so crappy.

    I wanted you to know that my dx is the same as yours. DOR officially, but after our IVF cycle they were able to confirm that it was a "quality" and not a "quantity" issue. I wanted to be sure to suggest to you the book, "It starts with the egg". I read it and do think it made a difference(meaning, paired with my naturopath I got pregnant on my own- shock of all shocks) I think paired with your option two plans it could really make a difference for you and definitely think you should try that route.

    Also, if you don't want to go the DE route, you could consider embryo adoption. I know that isn't probably something you want to consider right now, but it could be a good option for you later down the road. Xo.

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  11. http://www.brit.co/hottest-baby-names-of-2015/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social

    Hey, I'm so drawn to your story because of your determination, transparency, and our stories have some parallels. You've been through so much! First of all, I'm so glad that you're not giving up on your babies on ice. I pray that you can get a successful transfer(s) with those. I hope I'm not out of line to suggest getting a third opinion before moving to donor eggs. And if you can, run (don't walk) to CCRM. Like you, I sought Dr. LdM after a few failed local cycles. His SART data and sales pitch totally had me. But everything else about the cycle was a complete disaster. I cried the whole way to my retrieval trying to work up the courage to just cancel- I wish I would've trusted my gut. I know he has worked miracles for many deserving parents, but not all cases fit his mold. Anyway, I just wanted to give you my (unsolicited) two cents. Wishing you so much peace and clarity as you navigate through this.

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  12. Omg! I have never posted on a blog before! Fail and fail. First of all I sent it too quickly.. Then I pasted a completely random (but ironically not irrelevant) link. Please forgive the rookie mistakes.

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  13. My RE had a preference to complete all the embryos (that are worth transferring) before starting a fresh cycle. What was the reason for using fewer stims? Did you have OHSS with your first cycle? My RE was a bit more conservative as he cited that pregnancy rates weren't higher with higher number of eggs over one dozen. I actually had a better response with lower dose over a longer duration of time. As you had two different cycles, I echo the prior comments to at least get a consult with CCRM.

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  14. Everything sounded so great with this new Dr. Praying that your eggs start maturing correctly and it all works out! Hugs!

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  15. As heartbreaking and upsetting as this news is, I think you are handling it very well. I agree that you shouldn't give up on your eggs just yet especially since you said your 4 frozen embryos at your previous clinic and that they are good quality. Maybe taking all of this new information from this new doctor and giving that information to your previous doctor and using those embryos could work. I also agree with you that you should start preparing mentally for the possibility of DE. Preparing yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself. Hope for the best and prepare for the unexpected. I don't think I could go through with a DE. I would feel jealous and resentment as well. I think if that ever happens to me, I'll either stick to being a dog mom or consider adoption but who knows what the future holds and who knows how and if our minds will change (or not change). I wish you all the luck in the world.

    http://dogmomchic.blogspot.com/

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  16. Reading this post hits so very close to home. I will start off by saying that I am not a doctor and didn't go to school to become one. With that being said, the exact same thing was told to me. My doctor said he thought it was egg quality and we should consider DE. I couldn't accept that answer from him and felt like he had totally given up on us. I was devastated. In my case (disclaimer, my case only, not saying your are in the same situation), I started researching and found a doctor in another state that strictly dealt with Reproductive Immunology. After starting treatment, we got pregnant when all three of my eggs fertilized during our 7th iui and after numerous ivf failures. I sit back now and think if I truly had "bad quality eggs" what would be the chances that three would fertilize and we ended up with twin girls.

    Please sit down and really think about all of the information in front of you before proceeding. Don't give up on your dream of being a biological mom. I am thinking of you and hoping that you guys find a answer that helps achieve your dreams and you don't feel like you had to give up anything further to become a mom.

    I also feel in my heart that you are going to become a mom. I just hate that you have went through all of this to get there. You're a very strong person. You will prevail.

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  17. I am so sorry for what you are going through Elena. I certainly didn't think this would be the news you would be getting. I would for sure try the remaining embryos you have because you just never know. I'm with you on the DE situation, I could not do that. I could however consider adoption or embryo adoption because then neither my husband or myself would have a biological attachment. BUT I don't think you are to that point yet. Praying your baby is in those last 4 embryos you have :)

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    1. Also, nothing at all against anyone who does DE it just wouldn't be the choice for my husband and I that's all.

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  18. oh Elena I am so so sorry. Obviously I have no idea what you are going through, but I think I would feel the same with the child not being biologically mine. I really hope you have success with one of your other options, fingers and toes crossed as always xxxxx

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  19. I love how much you speak from the heart! You know what is best for your family. I pray, hope, & wish that everything falls into place for you, however that may be!

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  20. Oh Elena. My heart just breaks for you. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult those words were for your ears to hear. I'm confident you & Joe will make the absolutely best decision for ya'll. It sucks. It's unfair and it is totally crappy. I'm still going to cheer you on. Hoping & praying for you to feel whole again soon. Big hugs.

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  21. You are so amazing for sharing your journey and your true feelings. I can feel your pain and anguish through your words. And I am so sorry for the news you received. I know it would be incredibly difficult for me to hear that I wouldn't have my own biological children. And it would definitely be a grieving process for me, to get to using donor eggs. I think it is so smart to explore all the other options if using your own eggs is something you feel strongly about. Donor eggs will still be there (although hopefully you won't get to that point). I hope your old RE lets you explore using supplements to try and improve egg quality.

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  22. I so admire your bravery for sharing every part of your story. I wish I could say something that would make it better, but that just doesn't exist. I'm praying for wisdom and clarity for you and your husband about the next choices!

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  23. Oh sugars! I am just so sorry! My heart breaks for you. But you know? You are probably one of the strongest women I know and I just believe with all of my heart that you will receive that miracle baby. I do. I have heard GREAT reviews from the book called, "It all Starts with the Egg." I plan on ordering it myself. Please know that I am praying for you!
    (and I couldn't do DE either :/)

    waitingforbabybird.com

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  24. I'm so sorry you got this news. As if simple IF weren't hard enough. If you have to consider donor eggs, do you have a female relative that could be a donor for you? The baby would totally have your same genetics. You don't have to pay a donor fee. You can waive all sorts of psychological and genetic testing. Just something for you to consider... Best of luck to you. This is tough and I'm keeping you in my thoughts.

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  25. Hi Elena. I'm in a pretty similar situation to yours - the news that my third transfer had failed came just a day after your post went up. I've only been through stimming once, out of that we got 6 day-5 blasts but somehow none of them seem to be sticking.

    I'm pretty shocked your doctor suggested DE so quickly, it sounds more like they messed up your protocal because as you say, how could your egg quality have gone down so much, so quickly? Did he even test your AMH and FSH to confirm his theory? I obviously don't have all the facts but this doctor does not sound right. What if he was wrong, you spent all that money on DE and it turned out to be an autoimmunological issue? I think you've got the right idea to give those remaining 4 eggs a chance first!

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  26. I wish I could offer up words of help. I think it's maybe time for a 3rd opinion from a new doctor. Don't give up on those remaining eggs (as I know you won't mama bear). Thinking of you constantly <3 xoxo

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  27. I'm so so sorry and I wish I had some words of comfort. The emotional pain of IVF is far worse than any of the physical hardships. I think you've gotten some great advice from the comments. Only you know what the best path forward is for you and your family. If you do decide to move forward with a fresh cycle and you want to try a new clinic, CCRM is recognized as the best of the best as many have mentioned and you are probably already aware. But I wanted to mention an in state clinic in case you want to try something closer to home. Check out Advanced Fertility Clinic of Chicago. I think they have the best success rates in state (not that success rates are everything) and I highly recommend them. Best of luck to you! Hoping and praying for you.

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  28. You already know how sorry I am that you're at this crossroads. I'm here for you as a sounding board….whatever you decide. But hoping your frozen embies become your take-home babies.

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  29. I'm so sorry. I totally understand how you feel about DE. I always told my husband if it came to that point I would rather use donor embryos. I would be okay with my child not having my DNA or his, but not with it having his and someone else's. Maybe I'm weird.

    Go with your gut. If you want to use your frozen embryos, use them. If you want to supplement and do another fresh cycle, do it. If you want a third opinion, get it.

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  30. You have to travel the road that feels right. I know the internal battles all too well and I'm thinking about you. Lots of love, xoxo

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  31. Im reading this now a month later after a blog break and I have to say, you are so strong, so so strong. Hugs!

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