Soooooo as the title suggests we had our first appointment with the Fertility Specialist today. I know, a very cryptic header there.
From here on in I’m just going to call him the FS as I can’t be bothered typing it out the whole time.
Anyway, we went in there with me thinking in my mind that there would be a sea of choices for us. I figured we would fall into the nothing really wrong with you, you’re just old category and that maybe they could bump me up with some hormones and make me super fertile and we’d be on our way. Or perhaps we could go for IUI instead of full blown IVF. IUI is where they basically turkey baste you.
Turns out there aren’t so many choices. They pretty much do not do IUI for over 35s. He said we are welcome to try it but we might as well pour our money down the toilet as for over 35s the success rate is very low – something like 10%.
So no IUI.
The hormones I thought he could shovel into to me are really only to induce ovulation and as I’ve been charting for months on end now and doing ovulation tests and getting all the physical signs that indicate I’m ovulating he is pretty confident that ovulation is not my problem. Which means I don’t need the hormones to stimulate what already occurs.
So that just leaves one thing: IVF.
I was a bit surprised to be honest. It feels like such a big step when we got pregnant so easily the first time and then we had that pregnancy (however short lived) a few moths ago. I am left feeling a little shell shocked.
The clinic had a couple of really interesting things to say:
1. Great that I’ve come now. Apparently fertility takes another big dive at 38 (I’m currently 37 – 38 in Nov). I didn’t know this. I knew there was one at 35 but didn’t know I was falling off yet another shelf at 38.
2. They are big supporters of all alternative therapies, particularly acupuncture which has been shown to have a really high success rate when it comes to assisting pregnancy. They are happy for me to continue taking any herbs and vitamins relevant people have put me on. They believe that all these therapies contribute to a healthier person and a healthier person has more likelihood of falling pregnant. I am on a 100% wine ban from NOW (actually I started that from Monday and I don’t drink during the week usually anyway but, anyway – it’s still a ban!).
3. The chances of conceiving are considerably less once you hit 40. The graph basically goes like this:
Chance of coneption for 1st round IVF:
Under 35 = 91%
35-39 = 75%
40 – 45 = 39%
Look at that drop at 40. MASSIVE. Yes, some women do fall pregnant over 40 but if we are all hanging around thinking it’s ok to wait just because we hear about it being possible then we are making a big mistake. Less than half of the women seeking IVF will fall pregnant on the first round. One you get to second round the percentage increase to around 45% – still less than half. So if you are tossing the idea around in your mind, just be aware of these stats.
That’s about it. From here I need to go back to the surgery for a scan in two weeks. I also had a blood test today to determine my egg levels and I’ll get these results then too.
Then we’ll need to decide what to do. In reality it will be another cycle before we start any IVF treatment / egg harvesting etc so we will be trying again this month.
Oh the other thing that surprised me is that it isn’t as expensive as I thought. Almost 50% of the costs are covered by the govt health system (Medicare), then I have a private health fund that will cover some too. They estimate out of pocket expenses for us after all rebates etc to be about $3,000. I actually think that’s pretty reasonable. Sure you need to fork out more before you get it back but it is in stages so you are getting bits back all the time. Thankfully Eric is covering most of this but I’m still grateful it isn’t going to be too high.
I will update this blog after my next appointment for anyone who is reading up on all this fertility stuff.
Baby dust to all those out there on this journey too.