You all know what it feels like to have an overwhelming sense of nerves right? Well Wednesday, in anticipation of our first IVF consultation I could feel my heart beating through my chest and every time I wanted to utter a word or construct a sentence, nothing came together the way that it should. I was a jumbled mess; over thinking every question I wanted to remember to ask and overanalysing the answers we should be giving to the doctor’s questions too.
We arrived, and we were early having come quite a distance to travel to make it; some 700km from our home town to this particular fertility centre. As you can imagine that’s a lot of km’s to have way too much time to think about it all way too much.
My boyfriend had his appointment first; now this was a solo performance and one I was quite happy not to have to be a part of. I found it really entertaining actually; I couldn’t believe that a private hospital actually has a “porn” room so to speak. I think I visualised prior to the appointment that he would be escorted to an empty cubicle, close the door, do what needs to be done and do it with a very intense imagination. I never considered that in all seriousness such amenities would be provided. We are talking recliner leather chair, stacks of men’s magazines and a wide screen TV with multiple channels to choose from. Now who would have thought that this part of the process would present with so many choices and entertainment?! We laughed about this for some time after.
Shortly after our names were called, our Doctor escorted us to his office. Now I need to nickname this gentleman; I am sure he has all the expertise in the world and has undergone significant training and completed a mountain of research in his area of proficiency, but please, there is no way you can train to be a pompous ass; that just must come naturally. It started out pleasing to hear a little about his “resume” so to speak, but really this turned into a sales pitch that become highly self-involved and boarding on completely ridiculous. I will need to think a little harder about an appropriate name; I am completely open to suggestions however.
Moving on; now this particular Doctor, and in fact the entire clinic comes highly regarded, staying in front of advancing technologies available in Australia with a high success rate and excellent recommendations within the field. So I feel comfort in knowing we have selected a reputable Doctor to progress with. Here I was however perhaps a little ignorant to think that we would turn up, regurgitate our history of trying to conceive and then expect to be told yes you are both likely to need IVF, this is the best course of treatment, we will complete some paper work and a couple of blood tests and then we will get straight to it. I was wrong!
Before we can even consider starting a cycle of assisted fertility (now I am calling it this for a reason, we have a decision to make and more detail to follow so read on) we are both required to undergo several blood tests, further sperm analysis, more scans of my ovaries to be assured of the diagnosis PCOS and all of this to be timed throughout the coming months… yes months! It is unlikely we will start treatment until such time they are satisfied they have completed all tests they require as well as starting me back on “the pill” for a short while so they can fit “my cycle” into “there schedule”. I had no idea. Nevertheless we will conform and perhaps I should welcome the gesture of “a break” for now.
Decision time! Like I said, we were expecting IVF to be our only option; we had tried everything else from Clomid, Laparoscopic surgery, Puregon, Pregnyl, Metformin, IUI etc. I thought there were no decisions left to be made. Wrong, again!
Option offered, standard IVF or to undergo IVM with ICSI. I had no idea what this was but I now have a better idea… I’ll explain.
IVF as you all know involves high doses of hormone injections for 10 + days in order to stimulate the ovaries to produce enough mature follicles for retrieval. The possible risks with this procedure particularly with women who have PCOS is overstimulation that can have serious side effects. This also requires a lot of monitoring and doctor’s visits through the cycle.
As an alternative we have been advised we would be suitable candidates for IVM being In Vitro Maturation where the eggs are essentially retrieved much earlier, only requiring 5 days of stimulation and retrieved at around Day 10. From what I understand this clinic is possibly the only Australian based clinic that performs this type of procedure however is practised in other countries but is still considered relatively new. From the limited research I have done there has only been about 4000 babies born through IVM as opposed to standard IVF which is millions.
So I would like to through a question to you all; for those who may know a little about IVM; would you consider doing this rather than traditional IVF? It sounds like a no brainer however I am sure there are just as many con’s as there is pro’s to going down this path. The pro’s are minimal risk of overstimulation, no serious physical or emotional side effects from the hormone treatment, equal birth success rate as with standard IVF (however not a lot of historic data of course), limited travel requirements. Con’s seems to be that it is risky being limited historic information for live birth rates and slightly higher birth defect possibility (+1%) from what I understand.
I would love to hear from you all if you have anything to contribute 🙂