Thursday, 22 September 2016

IVF Prep

Since I’ve got a long 7 months before my appointment with my new RE I’ve been researching things to do to improve the odds of success of an IVF cycle, and starting to implement the changes. If we’re going to spend so much money on doing IVF I want to know that I’ve done everything possible to be successful.

As a scientist I have been trying to focus on peer-reviewed scientific evidence and not anecdotal evidence. I recently re-read “It Starts With The Egg” by Rebecca Fett, which is a great book about things you can do to improve egg quality. Rebecca has actually gone through IVF, and she has a science background, so the information she presents in the book is backed my scientific research demonstrating that doing these things does improve egg quality/odds of success. The scientific references are all listed at the end of the book, and the book itself is written in non-technical language, so it should be understandable. While I was reading the chapters on potential reproductive hazards that you could be using daily (think BPA) a study on reducing phthalate, paraben and phenol exposure in adolescent girls ( was listed in the eTOC of one of the journals I subscribe to. After reading the study and the book I made it a quest to remove these items from the personal care items I use. In terms of makeup and skin care it was fairly easy since I had already been moving away from drug store brands to hypoallergenic products which already tend to avoid the use of parabens or phthalates. Other items have been a bit more challenging. As I was looking for a new deodorant (which was a challenge, but I found Tom’s of Maine which seems to be free of everything I wanted to avoid, and more than twice the price of my old deodorant) I got angry. Angry that people out there are getting pregnant simply because they missed a birth control pill or had a condom break, angry that people are doing all the “bad” things – drinking more than 1 cup of coffee a day, drinking alcohol, eating the “wrong” things, using whatever personal care items they want – and here I am, worrying that my shampoo or deodorant is keeping me from getting pregnant.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Next . . .

Cycle 22 started yesterday.

On the plus side, after SIX weeks and THREE faxed referrals the new clinic finally has our referral. They are currently booking into March/April 2017. I'm trying to remain positive because we probably weren't going to pursue IVF before December so it isn't that much longer of a wait, but it's really frustrating to not be able to DO anything. After 21 failed cycles including 5 failed treatment cycles, it's unlikely that trying on our own for the next 7 months will actually work.

“It took me 4 months to get pregnant, so I totally understand what you’re going through”

I have a friend that is also TTC. She is currently on her fourth month trying and recently found out that her sister is pregnant because the condom broke once. She was telling me how much it sucks to see someone get pregnant accidently when she is trying to get pregnant, which I can empathize with. It sucks when you don’t get pregnant right away. It sucks even more when you’ve had a couple failed cycles and then find out someone is having an unplanned or accidental pregnancy. It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, it just sucks. However, my friend followed this up with how she totally understands what I’m going through with infertility because it’s taking her “so long” to get pregnant.

Just, no.

It takes the average healthy couple 6-12 months to conceive, so at 4 months you’re barely a third of the way to average. Let me reiterate, it sucks when you’re ready for a baby and it isn’t happening right away, and you may be wondering if something is wrong, but it in no way compares to sitting in your doctor’s office and hearing them diagnose you with infertility, with finding out that you have practically no change to conceive naturally, to face spending tens of thousands of dollars on treatments with no guarantee that they’ll work, with having to consider using a sperm or egg donor, or a surrogate, to give up on ever having children because the only options available are beyond your means whether financial or emotional. You can’t understand that until you’ve been in that doctor’s office, you’ve had tubes and dye shoved into your uterus, your husband has visited “that room” at the doctor’s office, you’ve taken medications that have turned you into an unrecognizable person, you’ve sobbed on your bathroom floor because after spending $1000 and having a head ache and cramps and widely varying emotions for the past 2 weeks you’re still not pregnant.

Even as someone struggling through infertility, I can’t truly understand what my infertility family members are going through, because our journeys are so different. Some are doing IUI after IUI because IVF is out of reach financially or not compatible with their beliefs. Some have no problem getting pregnant but always miscarry and are afraid of another positive test because they fear another loss. Some get pregnant from treatment but miscarry. Some need surgery and recovery before they have a chance of a successful pregnancy. Some need a sperm or egg donor. Some have exhausted all their options and have chosen to be child free not by choice while others are pursuing fostering and adoption. Some book an appointment to see an RE and then cancel because they got pregnant with no treatments. Some try a treatment and it works. Some have completely normal test results but still can’t get pregnant.

My journey has been one of mostly waiting . . . waiting for my problems to go away naturally, waiting for tests, waiting for an OBGYN appointment, waiting for an appointment with RE #1, waiting until we’ve moved, waiting for an appointment with RE#2. In 18 months I’ve spent 11 months waiting and I’ve got 7 more to go before my next appointment. By the time my appointment rolls around we’ll have been TTC for 2 years. You can’t understand what that feels like when you’re on month 4, and you’re minimizing my struggle, my pain by even suggesting it.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Are you ------- kidding me?

When my husband and I were making arrangements to move in July it included more than just finding an apartment, figuring out how to get our cats and car across the country, and finding a moving company. Since we were in the process of infertility treatments, and had stopped doing treatments when I got hired, we would need to find a new fertility clinic to go to after moving. Luckily (or unluckily, it now seems) there is only one clinic in the new province, so we didn’t need to do much research, we just needed to contact our current clinic and ask them for a referral.

As soon as I knew what day I would be moving I called the current clinic to request a referral to the new clinic. The patient care coordinator said it would take her a few days to get the referral and our file together, and that she would email me to let me know when it was sent to the new clinic. A few days later she called to confirm that I wanted everything sent to the new clinic, and then faxed it over. She told me to wait about a week and if I hadn’t heard anything to follow up with the new clinic. I called them just after I moved (August 3), which was over a week after the files were faxed. The new clinic had not received my files. I emailed the old clinic and asked for them to be sent again. The care coordinator was on vacation so it was about 10 days before they were faxed over again. Another week had passed and we hadn’t heard anything from the new clinic so my husband called them to confirm they got the files. They have not received them – TWO faxes and they still don’t have our referral.

My husband knows how stressful and upsetting and frustrating this all is to me, so he called our old clinic to confirm that everything was sent, and whoever he talked to (not the person I’ve been dealing with) told him that the do not ever refer patients elsewhere, which seems like absolute BS because people get transferred for work or have to move closer to their family all the time, so they will need to switch clinics and should be able to get their current RE to refer them to a new RE so that they don’t need to go through booking an appointment with a family doctor or OBGYN, repeat testing unnecessarily (especially painful and invasive testing like an HSG), and having to add all that additional time on to the already long wait time to get in to see the new RE.

I contacted the patient care coordinator and asked her to fax the files again. I also asked if we could have them sent any other way. At this point I’d pay any sort of courier charge to mail them, pay for a “general appointment” with the RE to have her phone the new one, or even have the referral and chart sent to me so I could march in to the new office, give them the files and tell them to check that their damn fax machine is working.

I’ve mentioned previously that it’s a 7 month wait for an initial consultation appointment, and up to another 5 months to get on to an IVF cycle. We’ve just added ANOTHER MONTH on to the wait time because the new clinic can’t get our referral.