Wednesday, June 27, 2007

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers!

I get lots of questions in emails and during phone calls and I honestly don't mind them a bit. But since I get the same ones time and time again, I thought I would do a question/answer post. If you have one that I haven't answered and you're really curious, just let me know and I'll add it!

Does IVF hurt?

Well that can vary. Last time it was 69 days from our first shot to our last. In the beginning it didn't hurt at all, Jeff would give me a shot and that was that. Granted, I've been told I have a high pain tolerance so maybe that has something to do with it. After about 3 or 4 weeks of hip shots (progesterone shots that go in my hips with a 1 1/2 inch needle) they did get pretty sore because by that point we were giving shots on top of where other shots had been given. They also started bleeding pretty bad towards the end and developed lumps.

The ultrasounds don't hurt at all and having blood taken is no big deal either. The follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) that goes in my tummy are with a tiny needle and can barely be felt. The one that goes in my hip stings like you wouldn't believe, then it just starts itching.

During the egg retrieval you are under anesthesia, so you don't feel anything until you wake up. At that point you are are just sore and the embryo transfer is not painful either.

Is IVF expensive?

Unfortunately, it is VERY expensive. There are a lucky few that have awesome insurance that covers it and then there are way more, like us, that don't. From start to finish we will pay around $12,000 for this cycle. We did get some donated meds and that saved us about $1,500. Then we bought some other meds at a very discounted price and that saved us about another $1,000. So if we paid full price, it would run about $14,000 - $15,000 per cycle with no guarantee of a pregnancy.

Texas does have a mandate that insurance companies must offer employers a policy that covered IVF, but employers are not required to purchase this policy for the employees. Some states require that IVF be covered, I wish Texas would do that.

How long does it take to complete a cycle?

That depends on your protocol. We started birth control pills on May 21st. I had a Lupron shot on June 11th to suppress my system and get it ready for IVF. Then I started my stims (to produce follicles) on June 18th. Our retrieval will be around the end of this week and transfer around July 4th. Then it takes two weeks to get a positive pregnancy test. So from start to finish we are looking at 2 months. However, we will not be released from our RE (specialist) for another 4 weeks after that, so really it's about 3 months.

Do you think it's worth it?

Have you seen my Doodlebug? Chase makes every little bit of our journey worth it and so will his sibling(s).

Do you have to do IVF? Can't you just relax and get pregnant?

Well if all it took was relaxing, I'd have a litter by now. While it is possible that we could conceive without IVF, we have a better chance of roping the moon blindfolded with our hands tied behind our backs (I think you get the picture). We are dealing with male factor infertility (the boys are swimming in circles and refuse to ask for directions) so IVF is only option. With IVF we bypass all our problems because the sperm is directly put into the egg.

Will you tell Chase and his siblings that they are IVF babies?

Yes, when the time is right we will tell them. IVF does not make them any less loved or any different. In fact, they are conceived with more love than you can ever imagine. Just think of how much love goes in to this and how much these children are wanted. They will know that we wanted nothing in our lives, more than we wanted them. Because we are dealing with male factor there is a very good chance that it could be hereditary and passed down. We want our children to know that if they ever find themselves on this path, that there are ways to build their family and it will be ok. It would not be fair to deprive them of information that could save them from a lifetime of heartache.

What exactly is IVF?

One of the best-known treatments for infertility is in vitro fertilization, or IVF. It is highly effective for both female and male factor infertility. It offers the best chance of pregnancy per cycle, but is also the most expensive form of treatment. As a result, IVF is often utilized only after trying more conservative treatments. The in vitro fertilization procedure involves hormone injections to stimulate ovaries to mature eggs, which are then retrieved through aspiration. Fertilization of the eggs takes place in a laboratory. The resulting embryos are nourished in an incubator and, at a predetermined stage of development, transferred into the uterus to continue normal fetal development.

We also use Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). ICSI involves the insertion of a single sperm directly into a mature egg obtained from the ovary of a woman undergoing in vitro fertilization. The babies born after ICSI are just as healthy as babies conceived spontaneously.

Why don't you just use a surrogate?

We don't use one because we don't need one. Our problem is not the carrying of a child to a full term pregnancy, in fact, I had a perfect pregnancy with Chase and he would have been more than happy to keep on baking if we hadn't evicted him. Our problem lies in the whole getting pregnant part.

Is Chase all yours? (I get this A LOT!)

Yes, Chase is 100% biologically mine and Jeff's child and his siblings will be too. There are cases where donor egg and sperm are used and I'm thankful that's an option for those that need it. But in our case, we are able to use my eggs and Jeff's sperm, which makes our children 100% biologically ours.


Josie said...

I can't believe that some of these questions are even asked! Sorry you have had to deal with those! Love your blog, and look forward to the post that says "Abby is on her way!!!"