Posts Tagged ‘IVF’

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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To follow or not to follow, that is your decision

This is just a heads up that I will no longer be publishing my blog via Facebook. So if you’d like to keep reading my posts you can either click on the Follow link in the top left hand corner, or scroll down on the right hand side to follow me via Twitter or email. I know a lot of you read my posts from Facebook so I just wanted to let you know.

Whilst I have your attention though, can you all keep your fingers crossed for a very dear friend of mine as it’s her turn with an IVF cycle at the moment? She’s a fab mum and hoping for a sibling for her little boy (also an IVF baby).
Thinking of you Mrs LT…you know who you are 🙂 xxxxx

It didn’t work

The FET didn’t work. This particular journey has ended.

I will post more later but right now we’re going to walk the dog by the river and hold hands. And just love each other.

2WW: 12DPT (days past transfer)

I haven’t posted this week mainly because I haven’t been in the best of places. I don’t think it’s worked and the anxiety and mental-ness that has come with that has been rather overpowering. I just didn’t know what to put in a post.

Basically (and without going into too much detail) I feel incredibly unpregnant and am expecting AF (Auntie Flo = period) to appear any moment. The drugs I am on have made me quite neurotic and I haven’t dealt with my ‘in limbo’ status very well at all. I broke down in tears on Wednesday and fingers crossed that was the worst of it out of my system. Luckily for me, when I fall apart (and I do fall apart) it doesn’t take long for me to pick up the pieces and soldier on, which is how I feel at the moment. At work I have been able to smile, converse with colleagues, go to meetings and all other ‘normal’ stuff, but when I get home it’s like a big emotional balloon deflating 😦 If my poor hubby just touched my arm I flinched and the tears started to well up, I just couldn’t take the emotions.

Yes I have tested early and no it wasn’t a positive result, but then I shouldn’t test early then should I?

Going utterly insane and can’t stand not being in control and having to wait for what will probably be bad news. This utterly sucks.

2WW: It’s getting scary now

First week was fine, flew by, I kept myself busy and positive, but now as I enter the second week…..I think it’s beginning to get to me. I have been having random symptoms but the trouble is I’m fully aware that these symptoms could be the drugs, a period or a pregnancy so am trying desperately to ignore them. Also, this morning I had an EPIC freak out when I suddenly realised that I hadn’t been taking the 75mg of aspirin a day!!!!! How the hell did I forget this??!!!!! I am so disappointed in myself (and the hubby for not reminding me), I can’t believe I’ve paid thousands of pounds, gone through physical torture, emotional breakdowns and at the last hurdle forgotten to take something as simple (and cheap) as a daily baby aspirin!!!! WHAT AN IDIOT!!!!

I’m waiting for the clinic to call me back and tell me what an utter doughnut I am.

I have also noticed that I have developed anger issues which I suspect are coming from the steroids. I’m perfectly fine and then all of a sudden I simply want to stab something/someone. It’s really quite that aggressive and kicks in within a second; very strange experience. I had a go at a woman in Asda on Saturday, the normal shopping trolley rage, too many people, not enough brain cells type of shopping experience, but I had to stop in front of the yoghurts and out loud say to myself “Breathe, Jodie, breathe”. God knows what people must have thought of me.

I think I may give being a neurotic woman a go and start taking pregnancy tests everyday, just go with the mental flow as it where. It’ll all be over by the end of the week (ish) one way or another.

BAAAAAAAH!

DON’T IGNORE…THE BASICS

Today is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week and so I wanted to do one more post. This is actually entered into a competition so do please pass it on and/or comment on what you think of my efforts 🙂
The title for this post is…

DON’T IGNORE THE BASICS

During the last 5 years I have learnt much in how the fertility game works and gained knowledge in an area I was ignorant of before. This knowledge also allows me to see what’s missing however and I constantly now use that old phrase ‘if only I knew then what I know now’.

There are many stages of the infertility journey and unfortunately they do not co-operate/communicate/work with each other. This is a bold statement and of course there are exceptions but I shall break it down;

STAGE 1: Try to get pregnant. Struggle. Speak with FAMILY and FRIENDS (if you choose to, not compulsory). Trying naturally for about 6 months to a year.

STAGE 2: See DOCTOR. DOCTOR checks your basic health, details of how long you’ve been trying, age etc… May advise healthier lifestyle, some basic tests (if you’re lucky at this early stage) and some obvious pregnancy tips (when to do it, how to do it etc..). FAMILY/FRIENDS will offer their feedback on this advice. Come back in 6 months.

infertility doctorsSTAGE 3: DOCTOR refers you to CONSULTANT. CONSULTANT goes through the basics with you again (any notes ever made on you do not get forwarded to anyone else who sees you) and may suggest further tests and offer something like clomid to try for 6 months (as in our case). FAMILY/FRIENDS again have comments on everything you’ve been told and all that you have been offered. Come back in 6 months.

STAGE 4: You now need to visit THE CLINIC for assisted conception advice as the DOCTOR and the CONSULTANT have resulted in a BFP (big fat negative to those unaware of the term). The CLINIC go over your basic details (again!) and all of what you’ve already had tested. They then advise an assisted conception route such as IUI or IVF and it’s down to you to decide when. FAMILY/FRIENDS offer support and further feedback. This takes as long as it takes.

STAGE 5: If the CLINIC get you pregnant, you have to go back to the DOCTOR to announce the pregnancy and start the ‘normal’ pregnant women tests and meet your MIDWIFE who is completely unaware of everything you’ve been through so…you have to go over all your information from day one (because your pregnancy is special and you would like to keep it please and so want everyone to take this all very seriously).

So DOCTOR, CONSULTANT and CLINIC are all trying to achieve a pregnancy, but they don’t work together to do this, and you are the source of all the information (so make sure you write it all down to save time). The problem is I’ve realised that no-one ever really advised us/me on the basic things for me to do/try for MY health. It makes sense that if something physically isn’t working we should try to make ourselves as healthy as possible, try to improve our odds. I often asked the professionals ‘any tips on what I should be eating or drinking?’ and always was met with vague answers of ‘just eat healthy’ and even ‘having a drink is fine, if it keeps you sane throughout all this’. The professionals are trying to create a baby without getting the vessel (me) baby worthy. So I did my own research.

I found out about every herb and it’s properties, I learnt which ones would not work for me as well as those that would as every woman is different. I tried to understand my cycle so that I could improve it without taking modern drugs. I found out about fertility massage, acupuncture and meditation, and started to reduce my stress levels. acupuncture for infertilityThe quick fix was out the window and I’ve started to work on a longer goal period, taking supplements that slowly benefit my developing eggs, rather than taking drugs that simply increase how many I release in one cycle. My weight is being addressed, and I have completely stopped drinking alcohol as there is so much proof that it decreases your chances of pregnancy by up to 50%! I see a counsellor to address my emotions past and present, so that I am basically a better all round human being (and less mental preferably).

FOCUS ON YOUR BASIC HEALTH AND EMOTIONAL STATE AND LET NATURE HAVE A PROPER CHANCE.

My message to all of you out there who are trying is that as soon as I addressed myself as the primary concern, and not my ovaries, I fell naturally pregnant. Nothing comes close to how that felt and I’m about to cry now just thinking about it. Unfortunately it ended in a miscarriage BUT my knowledge and my efforts got me further than my DOCTOR or my CONSULTANT (my CLINIC did get me pregnant too but that also ended in a miscarriage alas). If I had done this 4 years ago I may be in a very different position now.

So to anyone who is thinking that they may need fertility intervention of any kind, start by looking at yourself rather than the quick fix solutions offered by the professionals. I’m not saying don’t see your DOCTOR/CONSULTANT/CLINIC, just to focus on yourself as the important carrier/creator of your baby and therefore the most important part. Get yourself on an organic diet, shed those extra pounds, start taking raspberry tea, find out about natural supplements (maca, wheatgrass, l-argenine, royal jelly) and investigate therapies that you’ve never tried before like yoga, meditation and acupuncture. I was told by someone close to me to start skipping as it ‘refreshes’ your womanly insides. Unfortunately I can’t skip at present due to a very dodgy knee BUT this woman (who is in her 40s) is now naturally pregnant so skip everyone, SKIP! 🙂
The healthier you are the more successful any assisted attempts will be.

I am only human and have had a very depressing week this week, but I still have hope for my baby. Sometimes the hope is small, but it’s still there. I have hope, I have love and now I have better health. I believe these to be very good ingredients for my little one, very good indeed.

Big kisses to you all xxxxxx

For more information on infertility from RESOLVE check out the links below;

NIAW: Don’t ignore…

I am creating this blog for National infertility Awareness Week and hope to get as many readers as possible to spread the word on infertility! NIAW is looking for the best blog so for the first time ever I shall enter my blog into a competition! I have to write a blog starting with the words Don’t Ignore… and so here goes.

DON’T IGNORE THE POSITIVES!

Those of us going through infertility will gradually become knowledgeable to the medical situations that we are called upon to go through, or that occur naturally. We read up on other people’s stories and experiences, speak with nurses, doctors and consultants, Google EVERYTHING and chart our own physical experiences until we literally know ourselves inside out. As time plods on we may investigate alternative ideas, even lightheartedly buying fertility dolls or good luck charms and learn not to turn any suggestion away without careful and serious consideration. We might try a few things that we find initially scary like acupuncture, all in the name of our future baby. Then we face the most difficult demons; we struggle with our emotions. Empty pain, guilt, an overwhelming feeling of failure, of not being understood, of feeling alone, rejection and incredible frustration. Then there is the physical pain; the needles, the hormones that turn us into monsters, the constant probing and prodding, the surgeries and the perpetual double checking of any pregnancy symptom that may, or may not, be present. Then it starts all over again.

That is infertility in a paragraph. Or is it?

I have absolutely experienced all of the above BUT alongside all this, and growing stronger every month, are positive side effects.
I have discovered that I am not alone; that many of my friends have been through similar journeys and I have made contact with new friends who share their experiences with me too. I have learnt more about my body than most have opportunity to, and have an understanding of it that now makes me feel..well..more in control. I have met such clever professionals that quite simply want me to have a baby, which feels so very reassuring. I have faced tough decisions, dealt with them and lived to see another day (how strong am I?! :-)) I have dealt with a dark side of my persona and embraced it so I can move forward. New people have helped me to take one step at a time, and shown me such caring love that I may otherwise have never seen. I have been humbled by my egg donor who offered before I asked, and I truly believe that what she gave me is the most treasured gift I have ever received in my entire life. Through miscarriage I know that my body is working and correcting natural mistakes that cannot be blamed on anything or anyone. This journey has made me hunger to be a better person and hard as that may be, I have slowly become stronger, healthier and more empathic to others. I have developed a strong desire to help others like me, in hope that what I’ve learnt may result in someone getting their cherished baby. A bigger picture has formed allowing me to see more clearly and be infertilityaccepting of what lies ahead.
I see love differently. My husband has shown me what true, deep love is and been at my side constantly. He has held me when I lashed out in anger, and when I cried til my eyes hurt. We have naturally become a super unit of love, strength and understanding that can only come when couples face a tragic situation head on.

To summarise, my life is now more full of love and happiness, than when we started out on our infertility journey.

I refuse to become sad and miserable, I choose to smile and be positive.

My thought process is that if I were a baby soul looking for a Mummy…I would definitely pick the happy one.
Even if she is a bit nutty.

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