Posts Tagged ‘ivf injections’

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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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! 

IVF: Part One

I’ve decided to break down the IVF experience into 3 parts:

  • The preparation
  • The procedure
  • The ‘afterwards’

There is just so much going on with IVF that one post with all of it in would be too long and dreary. And I always find life easier to deal with when it’s divided into manageable chunks rather than one huge mission looming before me!

So here is Part One: The Preparation

After you’ve decided on a clinic to use, you will have a meeting with the Consultant who will be performing the IVF for you.
TIP : See your Consultant as a SURGEON, an expert in performing the IVF procedure. Do not expect him/her to molly coddle you or look after your emotional needs.
They will talk you through what will happen and give you dates, drawings, statistics and loads of information to take home. They will answer any questions you may have and let you know of the other staff members who you can speak with at anytime during the next few months.
TIP 2: Write down your questions and take them with you. You will most likely forget everything during the meeting as your emotions may be all over the place, so you need to have a written down list.
After the meeting you will probably see a Nurse who will book in some blood test dates and give you a prescription for your drugs (or have your drugs ready for you). She/he will also show you how to administer the injections and go over everything again with you to make double sure 🙂
TIP 3: Do try to bond with your Nurse/s. These wonderful ladies (or men) are in their job because they want to help and care, and they’ve seen all sorts of different reactions so don’t be afraid to express yourself. When you need help or advice at 3am, it’s the Nurses who you can call up.
When offered the opportunity to try out an injection in front of a Nurse…please do take it! I didn’t as I was convinced it would be no problem at home…but I was very wrong. My husband had to do all of my injections because I just couldn’t (although I felt an utter banana about this, it was quite nice to have him play such a pivotal role in the IVF process, as I couldn’t have done it without him).

So you can now go home fully loaded with documentation (more than you previously had, which in itself was a garage full right?) and your drugs and a diary of what to do and when to do it. The emotions that came with this first step for us were nearly overwhelming. We were finally doing something! The research, the talking, the presentations, the tears, the financial organising, the moral questioning….all of it had led to this day! But there is also the feeling I can only relate to doing a bungee jump (not that I have ever done one nor will I); standing on the edge, about to jump, but still adjusting to what you’re about to do. It’s exhilarating but petrifying at the same time.

The first thing I did when home was to write in all the dates into my own diary; injection at 10pm, buserelin sniffer at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm etc… when to stop the sniffer, when to go in for my blood tests, when I would (hopefully) be getting the magical and special LAST injection that has to go in the fridge and I have to take at 3 in the morning before going in for EC (Egg Collection)! Being organised makes me feel more in control, and I know what’s ahead of me.

The first injection was absolutely fine. A lot of panic, stress and tears on my part, only for it to NOT HURT A BIT so I felt like a big girl. I’m not thrilled about the idea of being injected but don’t have an issue with it, except when you have such emotions attached to what you’re doing it’s easy to lose yourself sometimes and become over sensitive. Just keep telling your hubby/partner how you’re feeling, keep communicating and ask him to always hold your hand even when you’ve become a banshee from hell, you still need it. So to reaffirm, the injections do not hurt at all, they are nothing to be feared. Don’t worry 🙂

The side effects for me varied as my first IVF was using a sniffer but they had stopped using them with my 2nd IVF and it was all injections. The sniffer (Buserelin) gave me headaches, similar to hangover type headaches and it tickles and dribbles down your nose (nice). I much prefer the injections which are fine for me, nothing strange happens. In fact I see it that I was ‘stabilised’ by the drugs, my hormones are completely controlled by the clinic and so my normal mental pattern of erratic emotions that I used to get with PMT simply went away.
TIP 4: Try not to argue before an injection, but wait until afterwards. Whether it’s him or you doing the injecting, it’s better to be done without any anger, lol.

It’s amazing how quickly you adjust to incorporating injections into your everyday life. I was always concerned that I would be searched going into a pub and accused of being a drug dealer or something as I carried an injection with me at all times (just in case). My hubby had had a few drinks one time, but still had to inject me. We can laugh about it now but at the time I was convinced he was going to completely miss and I would end up with a needle sticking out of my bellybutton or somewhere. It was fine though.

Every blood test I had was always fine, and every scan they took was also fine. I was progressing exactly as expected and was even referred to as having a ‘perfect cycle’. Do not be put off by this if you encounter any issues as neither of my ‘perfect cycles’ worked.
The scans are an unusual experience, they made me giggly in fact. My hubby has seen my insides! He’s seen my ovaries and follicles and bladder and…. oh that’s enough surely?! I am a curious creature and welcome any opportunity to see something that is not normally available to me, but I was really pleased with how my hubby also found it fascinating. To begin with I felt a bit sad as I wanted the scan to be showing a baby to my hubby, but adjusted to seeing it as showing him the living quarters for his child to be. He came with me to every appointment, without fail. I remember seeing other women at the clinic who were on their own and I felt sad for them. This is a special, unique journey and if you can have your partner with you… then do.
TIP 5: Ask for appointments that suit YOU, don’t fit in with the clinic all the time. You can be selfish about this you know x

Eventually the EC date was upon us and we set every alarm in the house so we wouldn’t miss that final injection at 3am in the morning. Overnight bag packed and off we went to the clinic… Part 2 to follow soon….