Friday, February 18, 2011

Part II-Popsicle Baby

So, continuing from where I left off in my story...

We were pretty much at a standstill due to the super high cost of IVF. I had another visit with my doctor who suggested we look around for a clinical study. Most studies just test the usefulness of different types of the same medicines or different amounts of medications. My husband contacted Boston IVF and, miraculously, they had a study we qualified for.

This study was to examine the effectiveness of freezing eggs, thawing and fertilizing them and then returning them to the uterus. The usual IVF process fertilizes the eggs immediately after retrieval and freezes any remaining embryos. I don't know all the science behind this, but basically human eggs are made up of a large portion of water, when the eggs are frozen and thawed, the water expands and contracts, damaging the egg. Embryos are not made up of so much water, and do not suffer this type of damage. The study was to try out a procedure for freezing and thawing the eggs that kept the eggs from becoming damaged. The purpose was two fold. This procedure would help women save their eggs to use later on if they were undergoing chemotherapy or if they had to have their ovaries removed for any reason. These women would not lose the option of having their own "biological" children. However, there is a lot of money to be made marketing this to "thirty-something" year old women who want to put off motherhood a bit longer. I'm still not sure how I feel about this whole thing, but when life hands you free IVF, you make a baby.

Fortunately for us this was a free study. We paid for an initial consultation with the doctors, and paid to have tests done that gave me a clean bill of health. There was one catch, in order to have all the cycle monitoring done for free, I had to drive to Waltham during the stimulation phase for ultrasounds...every two to three January.

We managed to do it though, the drugs, the shots in the belly and thighs, the hormonal highs and lows and many, many trips to Waltham. The most intimidating part was the retrieval. I was brought into a sterile operating room, alone, had my feet put in the stirrups and knocked out completely. There is nothing quite like being put under anesthesia with your knees next to your ears... They retrieved about 18 eggs and froze them all. We left and were told to return in a few months for the second part of the procedure.

When we did begin our transfer cycle a few months later I was introduced to Progesterone in Oil. Perhaps the WORST of the fertility drugs. It is an instramuscular injection in the upper butt with a BIG needle. That sounds bad enough, but the worst part was actually the after effects, the oil would form a little ball in the muscle it was injected into and sit there, in the muscle, irritating it everytime I moved. It was horrible. I spent all day sitting on a heating pad. It was pretty miserable.

Then there was the day of the transfer. We had been told that 6 of the eggs fertilized. We were thrilled, that meant we would transfer two and freeze the remaining embryos. We went down to Waltham the night before, with my stepsons in tow, and showed up ready and excited first thing in the morning. The excitement was short lived. We only had two embryos, the other 4 had stopped developing. And the two we would be getting were both underdeveloped and of poor quality. This news was delivered nonchalantly by a nurse and we were herded back into the sterile operating room. Near tears at this unexpected and devasting news, they embryos were transfered within minutes and we were shooed back out the door to head home. It was devastating news. I cried for the 2 hour drive home from Waltham.

Needless to say, this IVF round did not work. We had no frozen embryos to fall back on, and we ended our relationship with Boston IVF. Free IVF did not work for us....and we didn't know what would be next.

Stay tuned for Part, this really is a long story...


  1. Oh my goodness, that must have been so incredibly devastating! :(

  2. I know you are not close to being done with your story but I am already greatly appreciating those pictures of you with your beautiful child that much more now.