Posts Tagged ‘fertility scan’

Assisted Hatching with FET

The last time we saw our clinic we were introduced to the idea of assisted hatching. We have one more attempt left at FET (frozen embryo transfer) and it was advised that we could try AH (assisted hatching) to increase our chances of finally leaving with a baby. I had come across AH in my research but as it had never been recommended to us before hadn’t given it any further thought, but our nurse thinks that it might work for us. She explained that if our embryologist thought our embryos needed an extra push in the right direction, she would perform AH. I say if because AH depends on the outer layer condition of the embryo; if the outer layer looks ‘tough’ then AH is appropriate but if it looks ‘thin’ or ‘fine’ then maybe it isn’t, it’s very much an ‘on the day’ decision. So what exactly is AH? This is what the HFEA state;

Before an embryo can attach to the wall of the womb, it has to break out or ‘hatch’ from its outer layer called the zona pellucida.
It has been suggested that making a hole in or thinning this outer layer may help embryos to ‘hatch’, increasing the chances of the woman becoming pregnant in some cases.

assisted hatching

Ok so that makes sense, although I’d never been aware of that much detail before. I now understand that a small amount of special acid is put on the outer layer to wear it away, allowing the embryo to free itself more easily for implantation. The site continues however, to say…

However, assisted hatching does not improve the quality of embryos.
The NHS guidelines on fertility, issued by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), say:
‘Assisted hatching is not recommended because it has not been shown to improve pregnancy rates.’
The guidelines also mention that further research is needed to find out whether assisted hatching can have an effect on live birth rates and to examine the consequences for children born as a result of this procedure.

Now that statement that it’s not recommended because it has not been shown to improve pregnancy rates worried me if I’m honest. The AH procedure costs an extra £250 and although infertility isn’t about the money….money is important, and we have never had any help from the NHS so we’re skint basically. I then noticed though that the above was dated 27 March 2009! So surely after 3 years there are more facts and findings, and that’s why my clinic are offering it 🙂 Our nurse also said to us that everyone who had been given the AH procedure at their clinic had ended up pregnant. Wow! That’s an awesome statistic. Trouble is I’m the type of person who then thinks ‘ah, so I’m going to be the one that balances out the stats and doesn’t get pregnant’. I don’t mean that to sound negative (I’m a ridiculously positive person) just realistic. All of us on an infertility journey are secretly petrified of the question ‘am I the one who doesn’t make it?’

I am exhausted by the last 6 years. Utterly drained of emotion, fed up of the needles, drugs and scans, and the next attempt will be our last. We are nearing the end of our journey. So if trying AH will help our Potentials to snuggle in and implant then that’s what I’ll do.

Has anyone else tried AH or know anything of interest? Do please share your stories if you have.

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First scan to start the ball rolling

This morning I had my first scan to make sure everything was as it should so we could continue with this assisted conception attempt. When you’ve had as many scans as I have (and many of you may relate to this) it becomes a very straightforward, even humourous event. Whip your knickers off, hop on the bed and spread ’em! Then hold your breathe for the freezing cold sink plunger to delve into your most precious of places whilst smiling to the nurse and discussing the weather. I love the way they show me the screen, where my insides are artistically displayed in grey tones of pencil like scribblings, and point out which blobby area is what. ‘Ah how sweet’ I think, although I have no idea why I think this is sweet.  I have been informed that this month my left ovary has produced a follicle. Bless it.

So everything was fine and dandy and I was given Clearblue Ovulation sticks to start using every day. Now I’ve used ovulation sticks before, I bought them off Ebay and they were very basic but did the job. This time, however, I feel rather privileged to have CLEARBLUE ones…ooooh get me! The infertility journey isn’t a cheap one, as most of you are aware, and so we cut costs whenever possible (hence Ebay ovulation sticks bought in bulk) but it’s quite nice to have a super-duper-top-of-the-range bit of kit for once 🙂

Clearblue ovulation predictorFor the next few days I shall be the ‘Pee on a Stick’ woman waiting for the circle on the wand to turn into a smiley face (yes I know, a smiley face? really?) indicating ovulation, and when that happens….CALL THE CLINIC!! This all happens really rather quickly as the Clinic will then defrost 2 embryos, check for viability and defrost the other 2 if needed, then I’ll be called in for egg transfer, given some steroids to stop miscarriage, progesterone to help the pregnancy progress and then it’s fingers crossed for 2 weeks! So within 3 weeks we will hopefully be pregnant! Amazing stuff huh?! I am in such a good place about this, it’s so wonderful to be able to actually keep trying for our bambino, knowing that we are far from giving up yet. I completely accept it might not work and that’s fine, I’m not picking a fight with Mother Nature, I’ll just try again. I am slightly worried about having another miscarriage as they are a most horrid thing to experience, but I’m doing everything I can to avoid one.

I have decided to refer to my frozen eggs as The Potentials. It sounds so clinical calling them ‘frozen embryos’, and ‘eggs’ makes me think of chicken eggs, and I think that Potentials is a very hopeful sounding word for them. It also makes them sound like they are part of a 70s tv detective show, which is my attempt at introducing coolness to my infertility. Right on!

So I hope The Potentials are getting ready for their performance; Potential Mama will see you soon x

Assisted conception, natural cycle..here we go

So today I am on Day 4 of my cycle, have contacted the clinic to let them know, and have made the first appointment for next week! This is a strange feeling this time round as it all seems to be happening so quickly, by the time I am Day 28 I should be pregnant…or not of course. With our previous IVF cycles (as most of you may know) it seems to drag on for a couple of months; filled with appointments, drugs and injections. This cycle, however, is a ‘natural’ one so I won’t be taking drugs or having any injections (woohoo!), just going for scans. I might be a bit weird but I find scans quite amusing; ‘oh look, there are my ovaries, and what’s that there..sneaking about… oh! it’s my bladder. Marvellous!’ Not everybody is lucky (?) enough to see their insides on a regular basis you know.

I have been told I will be given ovulation sticks to use daily and then when ovulation is occurring, they will pop in our defrosted, donated embryos. Ta da!! That’s pretty much it. After everything I’ve been through this is rather exciting and relieving. We’ve had an emotional couple of weeks too, so it’s nice that I can look forward to this.

At the weekend I visited my nearest-thing-to-a-sister-type-friend who has become an awesome health professional since the days when we used to play with Barbie dolls, and she helped me out with my latest supplement collection. I’ve actually asked her if she’ll write a fertility post for me so she can share her wisdom and advice to all of us, so watch this space. Her name is Gabriella Clarke and thanks to her I now have the following collection to keep me young and fertile;fertility supplements

  • maca
  • wheatgrass
  • royal jelly
  • l-arginine
  • pre-conception tablets including folic acid

This little lot is a total of 10 tablets and I switched from powder form to tablets on purpose as I had grown tired of the green smoothies I had to make. Not sure if that’s working out for me though as the tablets get stuck in my throat and make me gag! Yes I know, I need to man up.

fertility supplements

My morning fix

I have also managed a nice steady weight loss and have lost nearly a stone, so I’m feeling rather good about myself at present, healthily speaking. I’m also feeling very determined which I think is different to feeling positive. Feeling positive just means that I’m hoping this will all work, I’ve felt positive for some time now (apart from the occasional bad day of course), but feeling determined makes me feel like I have more control…and Jodie likes control! I’m determined to make more of an effort, determined to be healthier, determined to hit the gym, determined to lower my stress RAAAARRRR! 🙂 So I welcome this new attempt with open arms! COME ON! I’M READY FOR YA!