The Fertility Specialist – 1st appointment

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.

Ems. x

 

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26 thoughts on “The Fertility Specialist – 1st appointment

  1. Oh gawd. I don’t even know what to say to all that info. I am 40 at the end of this year… maybe I should be more realistic about my chances, ha ha. I’m feeling so crappy today. Just really down and upset and miserable about it all. I just wish I’d been able to sustain a pregnancy and it all just seems like such hard work 😦 And I’m terrified of trying again, but part of my soul is still desperate, desperate for another baby… Meh. Sorry to dump all that in your comment section Em. It really sucks doesn’t it? I can’t believe it’s IVF – I really thought you’d end up falling quickly and be popping a baby out any day. I’m so sorry it’s been a long and stressful journey. It’s all so bloody stressful!!!! Right. Will stop ranting now. Big hugs XXX

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    • First of all, dump away! If a fertility post isn’t a place to dump your fertility woes then I don’t know where is!! You know what after writing this post this afternoon I went back and checked the date of my last pregnancy (March 7). This came about 2 weeks after I finished that 3 week detox I did…and I had continued on with my gluten free / dairy free diet. I was also regularly seeing an acupuncturist. I kind of chucked it all in a bit when the pregnancy didn’t stick. Depression I think. Or depressed about the outcome. Whatever. But now we are in this boat I’m looking at is all and going what a fucking idiot I am. I should have just kept at it with those things. ANYWAY, that’s my rant. So I’m going to try and fix that now so maybe I’ll fall naturally this cycle.

      As far as you go I don’t think your age is hampering you at all. You ARE falling pregnant – and you did at 39. It’s not like it’s impossible! I know a lot of people say cutting gluten from the diet can help with pregnancy so I’d be really interested to see what would happen for you with the diet change. It must be so hard for you to dive in and do it though after everything. It’s an incredibly tough one xx

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    • Yeah, that’s how I felt. Except I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to say f-you when anyone tells me what I can and can’t do. Can’t have a baby at 40? Less than 0.0001% chance of conceiving naturally? HAH! Screw them – what do they know. Right? Right?? (echoes around the empty blog hall).

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    • No you aren’t!!! NO no no no no. As long as you are ovulating and have clear tubes then there is no reason it can’t happen for you. It just takes us a bit longer is all. I’m sure Eric and I could keep going at it like rabbits and eventually we would fall…it’s just about whether or not we want to take that time out when every month we put off starting IVF just means it could be harder when we do start.

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  2. LOL! You know I’m sending you good energy – but at the same time, I’m so very happy that as I knock on the door of 40 that I can’t wait for menopause! I’m going to start researching ways to get menopause, like to make it happen. Maybe there is some acupuncture for it! I’m ready for my body to fully shut down!

    I’m already ready for the next update!!

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  3. Wow….my first thought is how reasonable the price is! My second is, good for you on the wine because I’m 2 1/2 glasses in before bed 😉 and my third is that you know, we spend so much time as young adults worrying about pregnancy because we don’t want to get pregnant only to learn later what a miracle it truly is. Best wishes to you and making this happen, I know you will. Xo

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  4. Wow, IVF is much more expensive here in the states! No gov’t system helping us with that stuff! I have a friend who tried it, and I think she said she paid 10,000.
    I was also thinking it would be good for you to go back on that diet–I think that stuff really helps. And not stress out (if that’s possible). I listened to some talks a while back about fertility, and they were talking about how sensitivities to different foods affect our hormones, and so does stress. Basically if our bodies are stressed out, our hormones get wonky.
    It is so interesting to me in our generation, so many of us waited to have kids. I loved being free in my 20’s, and I am probably so much better of a parent being older. But myself and so many people I know have had problems with fertility…I hope it happens for you soon, IVF or naturally.
    We are the same age by the way! I turn 38 in August. Birthdays just aren’t quite as fun as we get older, are they?

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    • IVF is about $9-10k here too – it is just subsidised. We are really lucky.

      I agree re stress, food and hormones. It all makes such a difference. The clinic actually said that they believe psychological blocks can prevent pregnancy (ie difficult births etc) which I loved. I love that they are so holistic in their approach.

      Oh another 76 baby!! I agree, birthdays are nowhere near as much fun these days!!! Lucky we have kids. Their birthdays are the fun ones now! 🙂

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  5. I’m glad to see you have some answers and it is not unaffordable. It is pretty interesting that the government health system pays for fertility treatments. But then again, if people aren’t haven’t babies, there won’t be a country anyway.

    I can’t wait to hear more about this and I hope it is smooth sailing!

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