Well it’s official, we now have dates for our first IVM & ICSI cycle. Now some of you might think I have made a typo but no I do mean IVM instead of traditional IVF. WE have agreed to try In Vitro Maturation, the short version of what the difference between the two treatments is that IVM egg collection is done about a week earlier than IVF and the eggs are matured in a lab instead of me. As I have severe PCOS they were concerned with OHSS and we agreed this was a safer course of treatment for me, although still a fairly new procedure and only 4,000 babies world wide born via IVM, it felt right for us. What’s the point in advancing fertility technology if we are afraid to use it right? So we will give 2 cycles of IVM a go if needed and then resort to IVF after this.
So, dates! We have our 3 pre cycle appointments on the 12th November to see the embryologist, nurses and counsellor. I should be expecting my period to arrive on the 13th November, then on Day 2 I will start back on the pill. I find this so ironic, honestly it is the one thing I have avoided for years and now they want to put me back on to it?!? I am told it is a way of balancing my hormones a little better as well as timing my cycle in with the clinics schedule.
On the 9th December I will have my next appointment to do blood work and start on the fertility medications. I am not entirely sure what these med’s are going to be just yet but they assure me all will be explained on the 12th November appointment. I have been on an increased dose of Metformin now for the past 3 months at 1500mg per day too. So we are looking like egg collection will happen on the 16th December then 6 days later will be the egg transfer (approx. 21st or 23rd December). If however the eggs are not ready to transfer it may mean we do this on boxing day, 26th December. The timing of all of this is a little off, literally falling the week of Christmas, but when is infertility ever a good time. If this works, this could be our best gift yet and what better time to do it than in the festive season.
I hadn’t really realised until now how much travel is going to be involved so I am going to have to come up with a planner to schedule in the days. One way travel to our clinic is 700km, equivalent of 6 1/2 hours. So when we have to go and have an appointment it is definitely something we need to plan ahead for as much as possible e.g. where are we going to stay and with who, are we going to drive, fly or go by train, organising pet sitters for our dogs etc. Always something to plan for. At this stage it is looking like I will have a minimum 12 days away from home to be available for the cycle appointments.
For those people who are interested to know how much IVM & ICSI costs in Australia here is a brief summary. Now IVM costs literally the same as IVF so no need for me to differentiate the two treatments. Total cost is $9,075.00 AU, about $1,000.00 AU is attributed to ICSI procedure and the rest is IVM. If I add this to our pre treatment appointment costs and tests, one cycle upfront costs are $10,500.00 AU. Thanks to the Australian Medicare system a large portion of this will be rebated by the government, we are told to expect our cycle out of pocket expenses to be reduced to approximately $4,000.00 AU. Then there may be some further reduction with our private health insurance for the collection and transfer procedures. I read so often how expensive assisted fertility options can be overseas, especially in the US, it makes me feel very grateful for the opportunity we have here in Australia so that this is financially an accessible option for us. We have been saving so hard for the past couple of years, we are prepared to do up to 5 cycles if we need to but I hope it never comes to that.
So for now, the next 5 weeks I need to focus on keeping my health in order especially now that I have no excuses not to give my mind and body the attention it needs being that I am not working. This first week has been a little disruptive and I haven’t achieved a great deal but I kind of expected that. It feels like a massive wind down from the past several years working long days and surrounding myself in stressful negative energy. Now I have the opportunity to make some positive improvements in my life. I am a combination of emotions at the moment both anxious and nervous as well as excited that after 2 years of TTC we finally have a real shot at starting our family.