Embryo transfer no.4

I need to update from my last post as I’m behind agaaaaaain…

So we had a call from the embryologist the day after egg collection who said they attempted fertilisation with all 14 eggs, and 13 have been successfully fertilised which was great news.

They then called me again on Thursday and said 10 were doing well, and out of those 10 5 were look very good so they booked embryo transfer for Saturday 20th at 9.30am.

I don’t know what it is, but I always manage to go completely overboard with the full bladder situation!
Everytime!
(You have to have a full bladder for embryo transfer)
With a fresh transfer is actually quite painful as you’re still sore from egg collection, swollen ovaries etc.

The few days after egg collection weren’t great, I was really sore and swollen/bloated. The clinic said this can be normal but to let them know if I started vomiting/have trouble breathing/if the bloating gets worse.
I drank loads of water and lucozade for the electrolytes (supposed to help with hydration) and ate plenty of salty foods (supposed to help with excess fluid causing bloat)
and the pain and bloating got much better!

I’ve got to be honest, I’m not convinced with this embryo transfer.
After having 3 previously, I know what to expect and what to look for on the scan during the procedure and from where my ovaries were still so swollen and my bladder so full everything was squashing my uterus.
Like you could hardly see it at all!
It looked TINY.
Before I could always see it very clearly and could see the catheter in there but this time it was a real struggle to see anything, even the nurse was trying to reposition the scanner to try and get a better picture.
We did see a tiny flash on the screen as they transferred 2 grade A blastocysts, but, I don’t know, I’m not feeling too confident.
Not that I ever do!

Well, it’s all just a waiting game now.
And to carry on with these horrible progesterone pessaries.

I’ll let you know how I’m doing in a few days!

Egg collection

Sorry, I know this is a late update again!
I have no excuse other than being lazy.
So this is from nasal sprays right through to today which is egg collection.

I had a scan on June 2nd following about 2.5 weeks on nasal sprays to check my ovaries were sleeping and lining was thin.
Everything was as they wanted, so I was given instruction to start injections on June 4th, which just so happened to be my birthday!

So June 4th I started the menopur 600 injections. These were a bit more complicated than the gonal-f I used last time. Gonal-f comes in like a pen and all you have to do is screw a needle on, dial up the correct dosage and you’re good to go. Menopur you have to inject the solution into this bottle of powder, wait for it to dissolve then use a new needle to draw the correct dose into the syringe you’re using to inject yourself.
For anyone wondering what the difference is between gonal-f and menopur; gonal-f is just FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) on it’s own. Menopur is a blend of FSH and LH (Luteinizing Hormone) which is supposed to help produce better quality eggs.

The menopur injections weren’t as ‘nice’ to inject as gonal-f either. Needles were longer and I think less sharp. So when injecting, it was just pushing my skin instead of peircing it, which was quite painful.
Ice was a godsend!

I then had a scan on June 10th to check how my follicles were doing. They counted 26 follicles, some were too big, some too small. They decided to keep my dose the same as not many follicles were of decent size yet. They like the follicles to be at least 1.8cm before triggering for egg collection.

I had another scan June 12th where they counted 35 follicles and told me I was borderline high risk for OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome) and depending on how many eggs are collected, they may have to freeze everything and let me have a period before doing embryo transfer to reduce risk of OHSS. They said any more than 25 eggs collected would lead to freezing all embryos and doing a FET (frozen embryo transfer) instead.
So then obviously I was worried, mostly because I’m capable somehow of worrying about absolutely nothing, but also because our fresh transfer previously was the only one that ended up with a positive pregnancy test (even though I ended up losing the pregnancy) and all our FET’s were negatives. So we were hanging onto a fresh transfer being our only hope of a winner. And also I didn’t want to end up with OHSS!

Anyway, they told me to do my trigger shot of Ovitrelle on June 13th and 20:10 ready for egg collection on June 15th at 08:10.

So this morning we were up at 6am ready to head over to Oxford.

They done all there checks then sent me off to sleep to collect whatever eggs I had and Will had the wonderful job of producing a sample!

When I came around they told me they have collected 14 eggs, which was great news!
We were okay to go ahead for a fresh embryo transfer on Saturday, yaaaaaay!

Just waiting for a call from them tomorrow on how many eggs were successfully fertilised!

Treatment has commenced!

Much earlier than we all thought too!
Thought I would atleast have a treatment free birthday this year, but I can’t moan!

I had a phone call on May 14th from clinic to ask what cycle day I was on, I was on day 20. As treatment for a fresh cycle starts on day 21, they said I could start on May 15th if I could go and pick up the nasal spray. So Will went and picked them up from Oxford on the 15th and I started them that evening, I will have to have 2 sprays twice a day for 3 weeks.

The nasal spray is different to the one I used last time. The one I used before was Buserelin, this one is called Synarel.

And let me tell you, this one is turning me into a full blown crazy woman!
Like the worst side effects I have ever experienced from any IVF medication!

When I used Buserelin the only side effects I had were night terrors and headaches.

I mean physically I’m not experiencing many side effects from Synarel other than sore boobs.
But mentally I’ve been struggling!

The rage I am getting is something else.
The smallest thing is making my blood boil.
The most minor of inconveniences is causing me to rage big time!

The sound of our dogs claws ticking on the laminet floor, Will chewing/swallowing too loudly, being hungry, the smallest amount of traffic, just people, EVERYTHING is annoying me.

I have a scan booked on June 10th, I pray I get used to this nasal spray soon and mellow out because even me being annoyed is annoying me!

Anyone else really irritable when using Synarel???

A waaaay overdue update!!!

First off, sorry I haven’t posted in so long!
We have been so busy, with moving house, I got a new job as a care coordinator/supervisor (which is so different to what I’m used to!) then with all this coronavirus malarkey time has just ran away from me.

Last time I posted I was due to have an appointment to discuss our treatment plan. Well we had that appointment at the beginning of March which went really well, they were happy with all of our blood results etc. I had an internal scan as well just to make sure everything looks okay.


I was actually due on at the time, but the nurse said she couldn’t see any signs of ovulation this month 😦
That was a bit confusing for me, as whenever I have had scans when I’m due on before they can always see that I’ve ovulated.

In case any of you are wondering how you can see on a scan whether or not you’ve ovulated, depending on which ovary you ovulated from, there will be what’s called a corpus luteum on one of your ovaries. The nurses usually describe it as a cobweb. It is where you have ovulated, and it secretes the hormone progesterone to support a possible pregnancy.
Interesting huh?

Anyway, the nurse said it looks as though I hadn’t ovulated. She said my right ovary was looking polycystic.
I was like what do you mean?!?
And she said poly just means lots, and I had lots of follicles on my right ovary. (About 12) She said I probably didn’t ovulate because I have so many follicles that were all fighting against each other to produce an egg, and none of them won.
She says it’s normal for that to happen sometimes for someone my age?

Other than that, they were happy for us to commence treatment after my period arrived. I was due to start on the nasal sprays on day 21.

My period came and went, we were waiting for medication to be delivered.
Then of course they called to say treatment will be cancelled until this pandemic is all over. So that’s where we’re at, just waiting til all this blows over.

Will got laid off, and as he had only been self employed for just under 1 year he doesn’t get any pay at all. Luckily, I am still working as I’m a keyworker. So my income is our only income.

Hopefully this will all be over soon and we can all go back to some sort of normality.

Hope you’re all well!
Stay safe everyone, and I promise to update more regular!
X

Semen Analysis RESULTS

Carrying on from my previous post, as you know Will had another semen analysis done to check where his sperm count is at after being on these medications that are not at all good for sperm count or their ability to fertilise an egg.

Well obviously we were expecting less than his latest count of 2.5 million per ml.

BUT

The results came back and they’re at 5.3 million per ml!!!

His sperm count has almost doubled since his last reading (about a year ago, around the time he started the blood pressure medications)! We couldn’t believe it! Fiiiiiiinally some good news!

Of course, this HAS to be down to those antioxident tablets. There’s no way his sperm count would have increased this much otherwise, especially whilst taking the blood pressure medication.

The plan was to then have another semen analysis done in 3 months to allow time for the blood pressure medications to come out of his system and for his sperm to regenerate, then depending on the result decide whether SSR (surgical sperm retreival) was necessary and then start treatment after that. But because of the improvement and the fact Will really needs to be taking these medications to keep his blood pressure under control, the clinic have decided to get the ball rolling and to get treatment started asap so Will can go back on these medications.
So we have our nurse planning appointment booked for March 9th to put in place our treatment plan and a starting date!

Will do another update once we’ve had our nurse planning appointment, so stay tuned!

Also for anyone who wants to know, the antioxident medication Will has been taking for his sperm are called Impryl. They can be used for both men and women too! They’re quite pricey, around £45 a month BUT very worth it!

GOOOO SPERMIES!

Change of plan…

Sooooooooooo,
surgical sperm retrieval didn’t happen.
Here’s to yet another 2 steps back.

I will try to keep this as simple as possible, as it’s quite a long story.
But basically, Will rang the clinic a few days before the procedure date to check what time he needed to be there for. He had also been researching about some blood pressure medications that he takes and their affect on sperm, so whilst he was on the phone he asked if all of his medications are ok to be taking and do not affect his sperm.
The fertility nurse claimed she didn’t know about any blood pressure medications that he takes (even though we filled a form out stating all of this 6 weeks before hand) and that he would need to come in THE FOLLOWING DAY for a pre-op assessment.

So they didn’t even bother to read through our paperwork that THEY asked us to fill out stating health issues and medications, not to mention we have given permission for full access to our medical records. Now they want Will to take a day off work with less than 24 hours notice, which he will not get paid for as he is self employed, to have a pre-op assessment because they didn’t think to read through our medical notes. To say we we’re annoyed would be an understatement.

So Will arrives at the clinic at around 9am the next morning as requested by the clinic, for the receptionist to tell him that there was no appointment booked for him!
After an hour or so wait for someone to become available to talk to him, he’s seen by the fertility doctor. They go through all of his medication which shows that some of the medications he’s been taking for over a year has a HUGE impact on sperm count and quality and it’s ability to fertilise an egg!

Is this some sort of joke???

Now, he has been ordered to stop all medications but 2 that are safe and won’t affect fertility, and we now have to do 3 months again of antioxident treatment and another semen analysis before we start treatment.

What scares me is, why hadn’t they checked all this before allowing us to have treatment with them? If Will hadn’t of researched his medication this wouldn’t have been brought to light and we would have gone ahead with treatment, which the fertility doctor said herself would be absolutely pointless!

As a patient to them, we should be able to trust in them as healthcare professionals and I really don’t feel like that now. That sort of issue should not have been missed! This is our lives, and of course our money which could have potentially been wasted on treatment that would never have worked.

Anyway, Will has a semen analysis booked for next week to check where his sperm is at now. Then he will have another one in 3 months time to see if there is any improvement.

Will keep you all updated, hopefully next post will be more cheerful! 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR

It’s 2020, finally!
What an awful year 2019 was, every step forward we took came 2 steps back.

Anyway, I know I’ve been quiet with this blog since my last post. Purely because nothing has really been happening on the IVF front. We’ve just been saving, saving, and more saving. But now we’re into 2020, we can get the ball rolling again and hopefully have a bit more luck than we did last year.

Will’s SSR procedure (surgical sperm retrieval) is booked for January 23rd, which he’s being an absolute cry baby about and I’m secretly looking forward to it ;).

And that’s all that’s happening at the moment!
We’ve now paid the £13,600, which we didn’t realise DOES NOT INCLUDE MEDICATION!

Just when we thought we had everything organised, they decided to tell us at the time of payment that the £13,600 does not include ANY costs of medication and the cost of meds can cost anything between £1000 – £2225 per cycle.
Well that was just great news.
As if we had the audacity to think that we were financially organised, pfft!

Sooooo, I will keep you posted on Will’s SSR.

Happy new year to you all x

What’s happening now???

I have fiiiiiiinally caught up to the now!
I have only just started blogging, so up until now I have been writing about what has already happened…
But from now on I will be writing in the ‘now’, so instead of trying to remember the way I was feeling and exact details of what happened it will all be fresh in my mind and what I’m going through right now!

And right now, we have had to pay £300 for Will’s bloods to be taken in preparation for surgical sperm retrieval. His bloods were taken yesterday at Oxford fertility clinic, so we’re just waiting for results before we can book the procedure.
The bloods are to check hormone levels and to ensure he has no disease or infections.

We will be booking the procedure for around mid January, as by then he will have been on the antioxidant medication for the recommended 3 months.

I will keep you posted on what we’re up to in the meantime…

Access fertility price plan

When it comes to paying for fertility treatment, it’s obviously not cheap, and no matter how much you shop around you’re not going to find anything that fits within your budget unless you’re lucky enough to be well off financially.

We came across Access Fertility a while ago when we had our counselling session at Oxford, which offers a refund if you don’t have a baby.

We got in touch with them and we had to have a medical assessment and they looked into information about our fertility from our fertility clinic to determine what we would be eligible for in regards to treatment programmes.
There best programme they had to offer was 2 years unlimited cycles and a 100% refund if you didn’t have a baby, costing £16,000. Pricey, but all your money back if you didn’t have a baby.

We waited a couple of weeks to find out what we were eligible for.

They told us we didn’t meet criteria for the 2 years unlimited cycles programme because we have already had 3 failed cycles.
But…
They were able to offer us 2 full cycles (full cycles meaning a trasnfer doesn’t count as a cycle, only the stimming and egg collection. So for example you stimulate and produce 18 eggs, 10 are appropriate for transfer, you have them all trasnferred but none resulted in pregnancy, that’s 1 cycle gone, a full cycle) costing £12,600 and if we didn’t have a baby we would have a 50% refund, or 3 full cycles for £13,600 and again a 50% refund if we didn’t have a baby.

We decided to go for the 3 cycles, which will cost £13,600. Just makes more sense to pay the extra £1000 for an additional cycle seeing as one cycle alone would cost us around £5000 or more!

On top of that, to have Will’s sperm surgically removed will cost around £2,500.

To have the genetic testing on our embryos will cost around £3,500.

THEN this is the part that shocked me the most… £300 EACH to have our bloods done!!!
£300!!! JUST FOR BLOODS!!!
Thats £600 for both of us!!!
Really puts into perspective just how lucky we are to have the NHS! Because that is a bloody expensive bruise!

So yeah, altogether we’re looking around £20,000 for our treatment.
£20,000 we obviously havn’t got.
But we are incredibly lucky to have relatives that are kind enough to be loaning us some of the money.

IVF is hard enough as it is, but having to pay for it adds so much more pressure and stress and worry to the situation. And when you don’t have the funds, you now have years worth of debt to worry about as well.

Following our 3rd IVF failure

On October 2nd we went to see our fertility specialist to have our final follow up appointment and discuss what we can do next.

We sat and spoke about our previous cycles, and she told us there are many things that could be causing our cycles to fail and that we may never find that ’cause‘.
However, she seems to think it’s most likely down to Will’s poor sperm quality and high DNA fragmentation which can cause chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo causing IVF failure.
We did also discuss the fact that there may be nothing clinically going wrong other than it’s just not working.

Our plan

Our fertility specialist advised that Will should take antioxident medication to reduce the amount of fragmented sperms for at least 3 months.
Then to have his sperm surgically removed, which is supposed to further reduce the amount of fragmented sperms collected.
Then once eggs are collected and fertilised, to have their genetics tested. This involves having a biopsy from all successfully fertilised embryos and then freezing them. Any embryos that come back abnormal will be discarded, and all genetically normal embryos will be suitable for transfer.
We have found a somewhat reasonable price plan through access fertility, I will talk more in depth about what this involves and prices on my next post.