Surprise, surprise.... NOT.
(image from http://www.stupid.com/fun/BCLK.html)
Tick tock, tick tock ..... can you hear the biological clock ticking?
See this earlier post for a recap of this cycle, and some answers I was looking for at this post-IVF conference.
This is what I found out from Dr. Hopeful at our meeting:
- Dr. Hopeful was surprised that no one had mentioned about my right ovary being in a difficult position. It is high and posterior (behind) my uterus, or other organ. It would have required a needle to go through the uterine cavity to access it for egg retrieval. She thinks the location of the ovary will remain and will not change in the future.
- It is possible to fix the ovary but it would require surgery to fix or retrieve eggs from it. Did you know that in the past, laparoscopic surgery was used to retrieve eggs for IVF? Dr. Hopeful does not recommend surgery to fix this. She thinks that based on my body's response to the meds, I should be able to produce a decent amount of eggs in the left ovary. However, this also means that I probably will only have ONE ovary to work with in the future.
- A day-3 transfer was not considered since my embryos were not at a 7 or 8 cell stage. If there were, they would have a day-3 transfer. My embryos arrested at 2-cells and 4-cells stage on day-5.
- Assisted hatching is only done for day-3 embryo transfers, and are not done for day-5 blastocyst transfers.
- There were no issues with my Babe's sperm numbers.
- There were an increased number of vacuoles (fluid or bubbles) in my eggs/embryos, indicating that they may not be healthy (signs of post maturity or degeneration).
- ICSI could be an option in the future. However, ICSI does not help a compromised (low quality) egg. She would rather not do ICSI if there is an egg issue. Performing ICSI is performing surgery on an egg, so she would rather not do it.
- It is an option to do half ICSI and half natural fertilization, or all ICSI in the future, assuming egg quality is not a factor.
- I asked Dr. Hopeful if one year would make that much of a difference in the quality of eggs. She said no one really knows, but she doubts it.
- If we did a future cycle (which we will), we will switch our protocol and do an Antagonist protocol, meaning I won't be using any Lu.pron.
- I asked about additional testing and Dr. Hopeful suggested doing Karotype testing for me to determine if there are any issues with chromosomes. It will check for 46XX chromosomes, to see if there would be issues with chromosome imbalance in my embryos (not me). I still have to research more about this. She will test me first since she suspects the issue is with my eggs. Karotype testing is not cheap, about $900 a pop! I will have to find out if our insurance will cover at least part of it. It will take about a month for the results to come back.
- According to Dr. Hopeful, there is an 8% chance of chromosomal imbalance. The other 92% chance is egg quality, i.e. my biological clock is ticking. If the test comes back and I fall into the 8% chromosome imbalance, then she would suggest donor eggs (my Babe and I have never even discussed DEs yet) since it would mean that our embryos would arrest, fail to implant or we would miscarry. If we do not have chromosomal imbalance, then it is a matter of finding good quality eggs.
- Based on my hormone levels this cycle, it looks like I do not have diminished ovarian reserve, i.e. I still have some eggs to work with. We just have to find the good ones!
- Dr. Hopeful wants to try again. My uterus was "perfect". I responded well to the meds.
- If I wish, Dr. Hopeful would consult with one of her other RE partners about my case and see if there is something else that she missed, or something different that could be done for the next cycle.
- I will be scheduling a phone consultation with the IVF lab director to go over the outcome of this cycle. Hopefully this will give me an idea about what happened to my eggs/embryos.
She said when we were ready, we should take the Karotype test, and then come back for another try when the test results were in. Before we left, Babe and I decided that we would take the test anyway, so I had my blood drawn for the Karotype test before I left the clinic. Since the results won't come back for a month, it would probably be June before anything else happens.
So now we wait. Again.
Obviously, we hope the Karotype test come back normal so we can try again. If not, we will need to have a discussion about donor eggs. I don't think we will do donor eggs, but we have never even considered it or discussed it. We'll have to at least talk about it. We'll have to see how things go.
We've all heard the cliche of the biological clock ticking. Well it's ticking REALLY LOUDLY for me. With each tick, it feel like my eggs are getting crappier and crappier. With less than 4 months to my 37th birthday, it feels like a time bomb!