Sunday, December 30, 2007

The choices for the new year

Well, here we are, 2008 is upon us. I am heartsick that I am not pregnant. 2008 is the year I turn 40 and I always imagined that I would have my family by now. OK, truthfully I imagined that I would immediately become pregnant when I started TTC'ing at 36, have my second baby at 38 and then miraculously meet a man at age 40 and have my third baby (with my new husband) at 41 or 42. This, you understand, being plan B, as of course I was going to get married at 32 and have babies the old fashioned way before I moved on to thinking about doing it on my own.

Ha ha ha. The joke's on me. Instead of life being anything like I planned and hoped for, I have plumbed the depths of misery that I didn't even know existed. The last few years have been truly awful. I never imagined just how bad it would feel to try and try for something you desperately want and to fail and fail and fail again.

I feel all kinds of left behind-edness and bitterness. People I started trying to conceive with have their second child, or are pregnant with their second child, or are trying for their second. Or have completed their families all at once with twins or more. Others have been through the mill and now are finally pregnant with their first. And then there's those of us who are left behind. Kind of like the non-believers after the rapture, I suppose. Oh wait, I'm going to be one of those too, so maybe there's a trend here.

But anyway, 2008 has to be the last year for trying with my own eggs. I know I said that about 2007. I know. But it is just too painful to completely stop now. Never fear, those of you that wish I would move to donor eggs already, it is coming closer. I am getting more and more mentally ready. I am getting to the impatient stage of seeing women have success with DE and wishing I could just get with the program already. I am, in a way, jealous of them which I never used to be. DE is almost close enough for me to see the whites of its eyes. However, there are choices to be made before then, and I would appreciate views on what to do.

Of course, I am doing the frozen embryo transfer first. And there's a chance it could work. And I would be absolutely overjoyed if it did. But let's be realistic here, I need to plan what to do next in the event that it doesn't work. So my choices are:

1. Move straight to donor egg. I could do a cycle in the Czech Republic or South Africa for half the price of doing a cycle locally. Pro with DE is that I have more control over whether my eventual child looks like me or not. I could also theoretically still maintain a genetic link by having my brother donate the other half of the equation for me - although that is weird and squicky so I may not do that. One of the cons though is that international travel is a tad difficult for me at the moment due to my immigration status. I can do it but I need time for government agencies to grind some paperwork out.

2. Move straight to a donor embryo program. Donor embryos are very hard to get a hold of, and the chances are that my child would look nothing like me. It could take a year or two to come up to the top of the waiting list, unless I arranged a private donation somehow. Pro is that it's way cheaper than DE, con is that it's less likely to work than DE (unless the embryos I get are already from DE) and everyone would probably ask questions if I ended up with a blonde haired, blue-eyed kid.

3. Do another cycle at Big Clinic with my own eggs. This is very appealing, partly because I feel that Big Clinic got me close with the chemical pregnancies, and it would put off the decision on moving to DE. I know the clinic and how things operate there. I would probably be able to cycle quickly, as there'd be no new patient intake malarkey. Apart from the money and time, it would be easy, but then again I should get my tax refund before cycling so that would help with the money aspect. But how big of an expectation should I really have that it could finally work? And then afterwards I am still faced with the choice of DE or ED or adoption or whatever if it doesn't work.

4. Do another cycle with my own eggs at a different clinic. There are various choices - Big Commercial Clinic in the snowy mountainous area of the country, Big Snake Oil Immune Issues Clinic in the desert area, and Mini Stim Clinic in the same city as Big Clinic, among others. Big Commercial Clinic may or may not take me on due to my prior failures. I have always poo-pooed Big Snake Oil Immune Clinic, but they have an interesting study underway that might allow me to do an IVF for cheap. Although I could very well not qualify - I have sent them an email asking if there's any hope of getting in. The study involves PGD-like testing, which would at least give me an idea if my eggs/embryos really are all abnormal or not. And I'm sure they would recommend some more esoteric immune testing, so that would always be a lark. However, if I don't qualify for the study, I'm not sure how keen I am to change RE's yet again. Mini Stim Clinic has a following, and uses Clomid to do IVF for oldies like me on the basis that the egg quality is better if you use fewer stim drugs. But you really need to plan on doing multiple cycles, which is offputting, and I've probably had too much Clomid in my lifetime to be able to do too many.

5. Adopt domestically. Uh, really not feeling this one at the moment, although it was previously top of the list. I don't really think I have the energy. At least, not this year. Maybe next year.

6. None of the above. Quit trying to conceive, quit my shite ass job, go to acupuncture school and maybe move back to England. Adopt a Vietnamese baby if allowed in a few years.

7. Uh, ideas from the floor?

It's fairly obvious to me where my heart is heading, given that one of the options above is written up all positively and the rest are not. But oh Blogosphere what do you really think?


Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah -

As a fellow "non-believer after the rapture" I don't have too much advice for you, as I am sort of trying #7, but wavering about maybe trying another #3.

The only one that I think would be a mistake is #4. You have had great "on paper" results the last two cycles - and its a great lab. I don't see any reason to jump to another clinic and start at the bottom of the curve again.

Who knows, maybe we'll end up doing #3 for the third time together. April?


June Bug Momma said...

{{{{{Sarah}}}}}} I can feel your frustration and sorrow. Hard decisions suck and you definitely have a tough call to make here.

Personally, I don't think you should give up on your eggs just yet. Your last cycle was decent and hopeful! No leading dominant follies! Progress!

Whatever you decide, I am sure it will be the best decision for you. Hope 2008 is the best year ever!


Cindy said...

I say after this next FET cycle, investigate the donor embryo route. It is way cheaper than DE and you can try to match some of your genetic features with either of the donor's. I didn't realize they were hard to get though so this, of course, could be an obstacle.

I would also start the process for the international DE route. See how long it would take and how to go about it.

If you cycle with your own eggs, it doesn't seem worth it to switch clinic. Big Clinic has an awesome reputation. If you were to switch I'd say go with Big Commercial Clinic. You could go with the immune focused clinic if they let you into the PGD-like study. It depends on if the cost savings is really significant.

Since domestic adoption doesn't seem to have a pull on you, I wouldn't even try it. It can take a lot out of you and I think you really have to want it to go through all of that.

Given how much you really want to be a mom, I can't see you living child free.

Almamay said...

No advice from me as I'm now organising my 8th fresh IVF cycle, so I'm not really in a position to tell anybody how to start their family. Just wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and give you support whatever you decide.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, well, as you said, one choice is written up very positive, so of course that's where I'm leaning toward. From a practical standpoint, I'd say to explore DE overseas. And I guess I'd start that process. Of course, I'm biased because that's what I was going to do. I'd say do at least one more fresh cycle at your current clinic and see what happens. I wouldn't even rule out doing more than one cycle there.
But in the meantime, I'd research the overseas DE programs and get that ball rolling too.

That said, I really believe it will happen with your own eggs. I'm not just saying that. I BELIEVE it will happen. You got so close in this last cycle...
and you're responding well to the drugs. I just really think it will work for you.
Hugs and Happy New Year to you. May this be your year.

Celeste said...

Although my own situation is very different, I've been in various states of ttc (and relationship) for 13 years. I'm finally giving up on men and pursuing treatment on my own. So, yeah, I can relate to the flavor of your disappointment, if not the specifics.

Cindy captured my sentiments in her comment above. I also think that the best things to pursue in life are the ones that produce a good, joyful, excited emotion within when you sit with them in your heart. Your internal barometer will no doubt be your best help in choosing.

Only the best for you in the new year!


steinbockfrau said...

Well I am ALL about the FET working...but as a plan B #3 sounds like a primo choice. Big Clinic has gotten you SO far and you know how they work.

Sending you much love and getting excited about the FET that is right around the corner!


Kami said...

I just don't know what to suggest. I moved to DE after four failures - two that ended in early miscarriage and one after a heartbeat. My RE saw how much pain I was in emotionally and said it was time to get that baby.

It seemed like the logical choice to me because a) after 4-5 ivf failures, statistically, chances of success really start to decline; b)My RE with lots of experience said 10-15% chance of a live birth with my eggs and 80% chance of live birth with DE; and C)I just didn't know if I could take trying the same thing (again) and hoping for different results.

So I took the logical road and figured my emotional acceptance would just have to catch up. I am still struggling with acceptance and wonder if it would have been better if I had tried longer or just gave myself more time. Yet, I am very, very happy to be this far along (16+ weeks) with a DE baby.

If you decide to do DE, I think using your brother is a great idea. How is that different than using a sister's eggs and DS?

Gabby said...

It's good you have options but it's definitely a tough decision. What about getting on the DEmb list now and do a cycle with big clinic? You could also research DE options abroad now too. Hugs, I really hope you can figure out a choice that sits right with you.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently seeing Dr. Vincent Brandeis in NYC. He charges $3,400 for standard IVF and under 10K for a donor cycle. I can do two fresh cycles with him for the price of 1 in Tampa. That includes my lodging and travel expenses as well. Just thought I'd let you know about him.

Best of luck to you in 2008.

Miss Conception said...


Our stories are eerily similar and it sounds as though we are both about to end up down that road of embryo donation. we have chosen our donation couple and will be cycling within the next few weeks. I'm scared.