We had our IVF follow up appointment last week, Or what is more affectionately known as the ‘wtf’ appointment in the infertility world!
I wasn’t expecting too much from it to be honest, but I couldn’t go into another cycle without making the long trip back to the clinic to ask some questions about why they felt we may have been unsuccessful, or what we might be able to change when we cycle again. We are very lucky to be getting two attempts on the NHS and I want to try and ensure we give our final attempt our very best shot so off we went to the clinic armed with all our questions.
My main focus I suppose was on response and quality from the cycle, all along I was told that due to having a good level of AMH that I was at a high level of over responding to the stimulation drugs and therefore was put on the lowest dose of Gonal F. When I had gone to my scan during stims I was expecting lots of follicles and was disappointed with only having 10, now I know that for some that is an amazing result but I suppose that when you are thinking you might over respond, 10 doesn’t seem that many. Obviously I wouldn’t want to over respond either so there goes the emotional see saw of infertility again, carefully trying to balance everything, wanting a good response but not too good a response. The consultant was okay with my response but did say that they would like to see a response of around 8-15 eggs so although my final count of 9 mature eggs was good it was at the bottom end of the scale so for our next cycle we will up the stimulation drugs to 225 Gonal F.
That brought us onto the topic of the next cycle. It was initially suggested I re cycle with the increase in stimulation drugs but keeping everything else the same so long protocol like this one which lasts around 7/8 weeks
Image Credit ~ Ninewells ACU
However I wanted to speak directly to the consultant about the side effects that I had using the down regulation drug or mainly the hearing loss I had and the tinnitus that I still have 3 months later! Again the consultant was of the opinion that it was unlikely to have been caused by that but I’m not convinced that it could just be a coincidence that it happened when I took it and as it is listed though seems to be a very rare side effect of this drug. We had quite a bit of discussion about it and he offered me the chance to do a Short Protocol it had been something that was on my list to discuss as I had read that it was good for people with a good AMH level. It lasts 4 weeks from start to finish and no waiting on Day 21 to start with Dundee starting this type of cycle at Day 3 of your cycle, so very fast.
The consultant felt that we have no egg or sperm quality issues, or at least none that are overly obvious from this cycle anyway and felt if we decided to swap to a short protocol we would be looking at 1-2 eggs less than a long cycle but with the increase in stims we would hopefully get around the same as our first cycle. He left it up to me to decide what I wanted to do as obviously he doesn’t have a crystal ball and can’t tell exactly what will happen but was agreeable that I could go into the next cycle on a short protocol. Cue, a tweet of ‘help’ when I got home and lots of advice from Twitter ladies who have done a short protocol and particularly those who have switched from long to short. It was so helpful and thank you to everyone who helped me over those next couple of days. The general consensus seems to be that a short protocol is not only faster but is kinder to you without the effect of the down regulating drugs and all the twitter ladies felt it helped them with egg quality compare to their previous cycles. I know the consultant felt quality was not jumping out as a issue but our embryos dwindled very quickly leaving us with only one left to transfer so if I can do anything to help then I will, so it’s a Short Protocol for us for our next cycle. Nerve wracking but exciting!
Because I’ve decided to do a short protocol I’ve also decided to delay for a month. I never thought I would be saying that, that’s for sure, but it makes more sense and I’m happy with our decision. I’m pleased we went to the appointment, it was good to talk through some of our concerns and to get a plan for the next cycle that we are all happy with.
I’ve now got a few months between treatments, we will off course keep trying naturally as you know there’s always a chance even if it’s a small one. My main focus is now going to be on losing more weight, using supplements to enhance fertility and looking into natural fertility approaches. I have found a natural fertility centre in Edinburgh that I’ve made an appointment with so hopefully I’ll blog about that soon.
Before I go I just want to say thanks to you all for reading and supporting me. It’s been so much easier knowing I’m not alone.