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An IVF Story – May 2006
As soon as I was engaged at 21, my partner and I decided to try for children straight away – it was an easy decision as we both wanted to do it. At the end of a GP consult I casually mentioned that we had been trying for 12 months without success and she suggested some tests, including all pre-conception tests plus an ultrasound of my ovaries and hormone testing.
I went along for the scan and the radiologist reported nothing abnormal, so my GP gave me a referral to a fertility specialist. It sat in my draw for a further 12 months when I decided that I'd had enough, so I made an appointment and I took my ultrasound pictures with me.
The specialist took one look at me and the scans before diagnosing me PCOS. Time for another lot of hormone testing, as well as a blood sugar level reading and a sperm analysis for my husband. Lovely. Thank goodness was happy enough to give a specimen but the problem was that it had to be at the clinic within 30 minutes, so we drove alternative routes to find the quickest and best way to travel from one side of town to the other in the right amount of time, which we managed to do.
These results came back as ‘just okay', his sperm motility was 30% – enough to get pregnant but perhaps just not me. We travelled to Melbourne and had to do another semen specimen but this time it was an ‘on the spot deposit' – my poor hubby got stage fright! The lab was set up awaiting the semen to see if it could travel into a donated egg. Thankfully after an hour we went back and my husband was able to leave a specimen.
We were put onto Clomid and had to have IUI's (inter-uterine insemination), where my husband's semen was concentrated then catherised back into the uterus – this was usually done once or twice a cycle but after another 12 months we decided to try FSH (follicle stimulation hormone) injections and IUI's one cycle. As a result, 75 follicles were produced and at the lowest level – our only option was IVF.
I sat in my fertility specialist's office, tears streaming down my face knowing that IVF was expensive, time consuming and intrusive. He wanted me to go and have the 75 follicles picked up for future use, I couldn't get my head around it so I came home needing advice and a hug. My husband made the decision to give it a go so after having counselling about the legal requirements and the procedures explained, we started to stimulate my ovaries, knowing the result of the previous cycle we were confident that a good result was on the way. I had a girlfriend give me my injections at night and had to sniff synarel (a suppression drug to not release the follicles) at 12 hour intervals, which was the hardest.
I had scans done daily to check follicle size and finally we were given the all clear to trigger the follicle release with another drug ‘profassi'. This was timed with the scheduled pick-up in the morning, just enough so they could be lifted off gently not enough that they had already been realised.
We arrived in the morning to see my fertility specialist and make a few jokes about selling excess follicles overseas, as I had a 64 follicle count. They told me that I may over-stimulate which in cases causes hospitalisation but luckily it never occurred. The pick-up went well, it was done under sedation and my husband was in the theatre – he explained everything to me later! An ultrasound probe with a long needle was passed into my vagina and then through the wall of the uterus, into the ovaries. A long tube sucked the eggs off like a vacuum and sent them to a lab at the side of the theatre where the scientist would call out numbers of follicles.
Forty-seven eggs were picked up and my husband was taken to the “forbidden” room to leave his part of the genetic pool! After a sandwich we travelled home and relaxed, then 2 days later we called them for a pick up time. We arrived on the day only to be told that none of the follicles had been successful and were destroyed. They cell divided 2 and then remained dormant for 12 hours – enough for them to be deemed unusual even though they did pick up again after that time.
Genetic testing was done and the all clear was given. I started follicle stimulation drugs again and with a similar result – we were surprised that 12 embryos were made and awaiting transfer. I had 2 placed back, this is similar to an IUI where a catheter is placed into the uterus and released. One little one decided to implant so at 14 days past ovulation I was told I was pregnant. I had repeat bleeding with this pregnancy and unfortunately lost her at 16+ weeks.
Two months later I was back again. I had 10 embryos left in the freezer, so I had one placed back at a time. Thankfully it took until the last one, but I was pregnant again. I was monitored closely but unfortunately lost the pregnancy due to an incompetent cervix at 20 weeks.
Three months later, back again, different doctor. Started stimulation drugs again and at a higher dose and then tapering. I had a pick up of 12 eggs, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, how bad is this?' I was so use to having eggs in amounts of the 60's.
After a few FETs cycles we decided to do stim FSH drugs with a trigger to mimic a natural cycle and with this I ended up pregnant. I continued to take progesterone for 12 weeks to eliminate low hormone causing bleeding and was monitored closely. I had a cervical stitch put in at 13 weeks and carried my daughter to 37 weeks.
Where am I today – I have a healthy beautiful girl that lights up our lives and 2 frozen embies in the freezer awaiting their time.