Turning the page. Now that the attempt to transfer the 3rd embryo is behind us momentarily (we have hit pause on that piece), we were encouraged to meet with a new IVF doctor in the area to retrieve more eggs. We are hopeful we can make more embryos to take the pressure off this last one. The lining specialist has put me on Trental for a few months. It is supposed to help blood flow to the uterus, which helps the endometrial lining to thicken. The doctor believes I have underlying damage which was likely caused by the miscarriages. He hopes being on this medication for 2-3 months will help. He referred us to a colleague of his which he has worked with since the 70’s. He said he is meticulous as well as a good doctor. He says that going to another clinic where they use the same protocol is not the way to go for me as I need individualized care.
Jack and I had a consultation with the new doctor this last Monday (he’s also a fellow Texan!). He gave us hope we could retrieve more eggs than our previous retrievals, and his first question upon reviewing our book aka medical records was, “have any of your prior doctors taken a baseline measurement to see what your ‘normal’ levels are”? This was also one of our primary questions, and it goes to show you that you should always interview different doctors and clinics, and second opinions are probably more valuable than we think. It is overwhelming and time consuming but now as we look back we wish we had taken a moment to interview different clinics alongside our research. We had no idea and now after 3+ years of fertility treatments we understand the importance first hand! We have found that many doctors use the same protocol on all patients vs. individualized care regardless of what you blood tests and levels look like. Who knew I would be such a special case? However, these waters are not easy to navigate, especially if you don’t have any indication that your needs are differentiated from “the usual”. Overall the consultation went well and we have decided to move forward on next steps.
I will have a checkup tomorrow to determine which path we will go as I have been on medication that suppresses my ovaries. Two things can happen:
- If my ovaries are suppressed, we will monitor my lining through a natural cycle.
- If my ovaries are not suppressed, we will move forward with another egg retrieval. Then circle back on a lining check through a natural cycle.
The new doctor’s approach is to put me on fewer medications, which is our preferred way. Jack is man crushing on the doctor as he was really intrigued by what he had to say to us [Jack Edit: The notion of exogenous hormones not being compatible with Janet’s receptors is kind of fascinating in its wider implications]. All the while, we will start looking into surrogacy agencies. This time we will take the time to interview the top 4 agencies the lining specialist recommended to us. As much as we do not want to go this route, the process is not short and in the case my lining does not cooperate, we will need to borrow someone else’s uterus. It pains us to have to think of having to choose this route for a couple of reasons.
- You are asking a complete stranger to carry your child. When you contact an agency, they provide you access to an online portal of available surrogates; it feels similar to online dating. For someone like me (type A personality), it’s so out of your control….it’s like an out of body experience.
- The additional financial burden. Compensation to the surrogate agency, legal fees, the surrogate’s compensation, and the expenses that come with going through a pregnancy. Something so essentially personal becomes reduced to a business transaction.
We are also heading down an unusual path (for us) as the new IVF doctor doesn’t accept insurance, which means that the costs will be out of pocket, and we will need to submit the prepaid expenses to insurance to see what they will reimburse. When you go this route, insurance has a maximum allowed amount that they think is “reasonable”, which will lead to us bearing a fairly heavy financial burden. For example: a procedure is $1,000; our insurance will cover 70% of the max allowed because this is out of network. The max allowed is $100 of that $1,000 charged, of which they will provide $70 which means we will pay $930 out of pocket for the procedure. We are learning over time that you get what you pay for. We are still investigating our options,but the overall cost for one IVF cycle is around $20-25K. Crossing our fingers that a little more time will allow for my lining to “heal”, and we don’t have to go the surrogacy route which insurance does not cover, and costs are ~$100K+.
Although we feel really good about this new doctor and we really want to be confident that somehow my lining will get better, we need to be realistic as time keeps ticking away and we need to get really real (we have been trying 2013). Does that even make sense? This journey has already been real enough. At the end of this month, we will attend a Fertility Expo to sit in on some seminars about adoption, surrogacy, legal manners, etc. We never thought we’d ever attend this type of conference, but we hope this is helpful for us as just looking at surrogacy information is overwhelming in its own right.
And last, I go back to work on next week 🙁