donor egg ivf · ivf · IVF with donor eggs

Time Away for the Heart

postcardnashville1The hubby and I got away this weekend to go to my college girlfriend’s wedding in Nashville. It was exactly what we needed. If I’m honest, I was worried about going because of the money we were spending on everything – hotel, flight, dress, tux – it was all adding up pretty quickly, and we all know we are strapped for cash right now. Every bit of extra money needs to be going to pay off our IVF loan, or to savings to pay for our trips to San Diego. So I was pretty stressed out about it, but I am so glad we went.

Seeing those girls always makes my heart full. They are the kind of friends that make it easy to pick right up where we left off, no matter how little we’ve spoken over the months. We get together for a girl’s weekend about once a year, but it was great fun to get together with the husbands. I adore the men my friends have married. It’s rare when your friends marry someone that still gets along with everyone in the group. It just added to the fun of having everyone together, instead of making it awkward. They also weren’t afraid to ask me how things are going in regards to this process – and I am so grateful for that. A lot of them read this blog, in fact, and I am so grateful for that, too. Girlfriends-Day-Out-Image

But on top of the good feels that these girls give me, we also have a BLAST together. The wedding was beautiful, the reception was amazing, and we danced and danced and danced. It was fun getting all dressed up, being with each other and each others’ husbands, and celebrating the last of us to be married off. It was a great “last” wedding. Now we just have to find other opportunities to get together!

So, what does this have to do with infertility? After all, that’s what this blog is about, right? Well, mostly, I just feel so refreshed. It gave me and the hubby time away from normal life for a little while. I was feeling stressed at work, stressed about finances, stressed about the upcoming cycle and getting legal stuff taken care of, etc. This weekend gave us time to just be us. To let our hair down and have a little fun. Infertility can be so incredibly tough on a marriage. I think it is important to remember who you are as a couple. Not a coupinfertility-and-marriage-300x224le struggling with infertility. Sometimes it’s hard for me to lose that identity. It has become a part of who I am, and that can be pretty tough on one’s self esteem. But this weekend I got to feel like me again. I felt loved, I felt sexy, and I felt like a human being. Not that I didn’t think about it, or talk about it, or feel it in my usual ways. But it didn’t overwhelm my day – and that’s just what I needed.

 

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donor egg ivf · financial · ivf · lawyer fees · San Diego Fertility Center · sdfc

I knew this was coming…

So even though we won’t have egg retrieval until July, I want to go ahead and get everything needed for legals complete so we don’t have to think about it. So I contacted the lawyer, explained that we had found another donor, and asked that we go ahead and start the process. So once she got the go ahead from the clinic, she sent over our retainer letter which we have to sign… along with $500 to pay the new donor’s lawyer.

UGH!!!!!!!!!!

When I read that, I just started crying. I knew it was a possibility, but when I asked Jenna all of those questions, it sounded as though there was hope that we wouldn’t be out any money. I just forwarded it to Ryan and said “I want to fight this.” The problem is, we don’t know who to talk to about it. This is a fee that doesn’t go to my lawyer, or SDFC, but to a completely different person with whom I don’t have any contact. I decided I was going to email Jenna about it and see if there is ANYTHING she can do – maybe she can talk to the donor’s lawyer and explain our situation? But Jenna is out of the office until the end of this week. I just didn’t even reply to Alison (the paralegal). I couldn’t. I’m just so tired of this mess.

But then she emailed us on Friday to make sure we had gotten her email. I replied to her and said “I’m sorry for my late response. We’ve been trying to figure out what to do because we weren’t expecting to pay another $500 for the donor’s attorney – especially since the  last time we paid that $500 our original donor backed out on us. I’ll get back to you shortly.” It’s a little snooty. I feel kinda bad about it…kinda.

In the big picture, $500 isn’t all that much. But it’s just so frustrating that we completely lost $500 – I mean we paid that other lawyer to do a terrible job last time. It probably took 30 minutes of her time to have a phone conversation and not convince these people that they’re freaking out over nothing. So I’m going to complain about that. If nothing else, SDFC should cover the cost for us. Am I being ridiculous?

Today we have a phone call with an embryologist at SDFC. We just have some questions about PGS testing. We’re wondering if it’s really worth the $4,000, especially since we now have to pay $4,000 extra for our new donor. We originally signed up to do it for “family balancing” – basically we want a boy this time. But we are realizing that $4,000 is a steep price for that kind of thing. So we basically want to find out if we don’t do it now, and end up with another girl, could we do it later with our frozen embryos for a third pregnancy? I just felt a little sick to my stomach when I typed those words. Ya’ll I’ll be 36 in September – a THIRD pregnancy?! And I have had so many people tell me – “Another girl would not be the end of the world,” “Girls are great – boys are gross,” “But Anadine would love a sister.” Yes, I understand all of this. But when you can’t get pregnant easily, when you are 35 trying to have your second child, and when you have been through everything in the world to have a baby and you are simply trying to find any positive in the situation (and, yes, maybe gender selection could be that positive) then you have to consider it. I know the other side, too… Maybe we’re playing God too much. If we could get pregnant easily, the idea of having another girl would not hinder us from trying again. These are the debates we have back and forth all the time. I’m leaning more towards not having the testing done, but I’m also the frugal one.

I mean, y’all, we are crunching numbers right now. We found out we owe over $2,000 in taxes this year. Now we have this giant loan, added costs, and have to find the cash to get out to San Diego when it’s time. I wish I could just win the lottery. Or get a huge raise. Or get invited to ELLEN! HA! I mean, where’s Oprah when you need her?!

 

Diminished ovarian reserve · donor egg · donor egg ivf · infertility · ivf · IVF with donor eggs

And we found a donor!

I apologize in advance for how this post may look, but I am posting from my phone and I can’t really see what I’m doing. But I wanted to come in here and let everyone know that we have found our new donor!

So last Thursday I received an email from Jenna saying that they needed and answer by Friday morning…Were we going with brown eyed girl, our original donor, or neither?  Ryan and I talked and talked and talked some more and finally settled on brown eyed girl. We decided that she was everything we wanted and we were bound to get a beautiful child, even if he or she had brown eyes. But Ryan still wanted to talk to Jenna about if we could change our minds later if someone else of that caliber came along that had blue eyes, blah blah blah. So we were settled, but I still didn’t feel settled. So Friday morning I emailed Jenna and told her we wanted brown eyed girl, but to please give ryan a call when she could because he had some questions. And then we didn’t hear from her…

Anyway, we both continued checking the database, either out of habit or because our subconscious was telling us something wasn’t right. And low and behold around 4:30 I get a text from ryan saying that there was a new blue eyed donor and she looked awesome. At the exact same moment I received an email from jenna saying that she was out of the office and asked if we could ask our questions via email. Well, after a quick scan of this girl’s profile, it was easy to see that she was perfect. She was of the same caliber as brown eyed girl, but with blue eyes. Ryan and I talked for about two minutes knowing that we would have to make a quick decision. We had figured out that girls of this caliber moved quickly, so there was no time to waste. We decided within those two minutes we wanted her. So I emailed Jenna back and told her to scratch everything. That we wanted this donor and if we got her no questions necessary. And then I waited–for what seemed like ages!  I even emailed Sam, the head of the department seeing if there was anything she could do to make sure we got that donor (I was scared because Jenna had said she was out of the office). Well, I almost instantly got a reply from Sam saying that unfortunately there wasn’t anything she could really do- that Jenna was the one who did the matching. She said that Jenna did time stamp her requests, but that the donor was a popular one and she couldn’t guarantee we’d get her. So I prayed and prayed and prayed.

Then we got the email from Jenna that said “she’s yours!” I felt like I had won the lottery. It all happened so fast, and I was truly working off of gut feeling. Luckily she attached her profile to the email  so we could see what we had just signed up for- and I can honestly say I have no regrets. I am so excited!

She is gorgeous! She’s a southern girl (originally from arkansas). She’s smart, has two kids of her own, and is a proven donor. So that means she’s $4,000 more. But she’s worth it. We made that snap decision, too- but again no regrets. We just have to find the $4,000. Oh back to money!

So the worst part about all of this is egg retrieval won’t be until July. Because the lab is so booked up until then. So that means we won’t do transfer until late August. Ryan as boards mid August so it’s important that we wait until that’s over before he has to deal with a trip out to San Diego- one which I’ll be on bed rest for two days. But I’m embracing this. I’m going to enjoy this summer. I’m going to rock a swim suit (I’ve been working hard at losing weight so I’m going to enjoy it this summer), I’m going to have fun drinking my pimms cups, and having the energy to play with Anadine. Because if things work in august, then we’ll have a May baby. And that means next summer I will not be rocking a swim suit! Ha!

So there it is. Now we work with legal stuff, find $4,000, and then count down until July.

donor egg ivf · ivf · San Diego Fertility Center

Checking Things Off

Okay, so since I last gave an update not much has happened, but a whole lot has happened at the same time. In a way I feel like I’m dealing with something to do with our cycle every day, but there still isn’t much to report. But I figured I needed to come in here and give an update anyway – before I forget anything.

1. I had a consultation with our nurse on the phone, but it didn’t amount to much other than us hearing each others voices and making a connection. She did send me an email with all of the things that need to be completed before our donor begins her cycle. So that’s basically what I have been up to.

2. Our donor went in on Dec. 30th to have the rest of her lab work, psychological consultation, etc. done. They say it takes about 2-3 weeks to get those results back. That’s when big (but hopefully not big) news will come in. That’s when we will really know if this is a go or not. So another week or so and we should hear something. Fingers crossed!

3. I went in to my doctor on Wednesday to have my blood work done. They’re checking for things from thyroid problems to communicable diseases. I’m expecting everything to be in the clear. After all, I just had these done a year ago. But again, fingers crossed!

4. I set things up with my old RE in Jackson to be able to go there for my ultrasounds when we start our transfer cycle. There isn’t an RE where we live, so I had two choices: one clinic that is about an hour away, but I don’t have a history with them, or my old clinic in Jackson, which is an hour and half away. Plus my parents both still live there so it gives me a home base if I should have to spend the night or something. I’m actually looking forward to seeing my old doctor again. I adored him, even though he didn’t ultimately bring me my baby. I also have to get a sonohysterogram done before our donor starts her cycle. I’ve had this done what seems like a million times before. It’s where they will push die into my uterus and look for any abnormalities on a sonogram machine. This is what I had done in Colorado when they found the polyp. I will call them and set that up when my next cycle starts (should be any day now) because it has to be done between cycle days 6-12.

Still to do:

1. Ryan has to get his blood work done. He works in a hospital, so he can just go over there at some point and have it done. I just have to keep reminding him!

2. We have to have a psychological consultation done by a therapist, who then has to send a letter to San Diego. Our nurse gave me permission to just speak to our priest (who I adore and feel comfortable with) so I just need to speak with him to see if he’s okay with doing it – I’m sure he will be.

3. We have to apply for a loan. This is a big one. And again, it involves Ryan sitting down with me and doing it. Not to sound like Ryan isn’t helping with any of this, but he has been super busy at work lately and we barely seem to get two minutes of time to get these sort of things done. Our money is due before our donor starts her birth control pills, so this is top priority!

So things are moving along. Hopefully we’ll be getting some results in soon and I’ll have more to share. I’m really excited about our donor though. I just hope it all works out!

Diminished ovarian reserve · donor egg ivf · Fallopian tubes · infertility · ivf · polyp · uterus

OBGYN Appointment

Sorry it has been awhile since I last posted. There hasn’t been much to report, as we are still at a stand still until we get some of these things taken care of. I had my yearly with my OBGYN yesterday though, so now I have something to tell. First of all, this is a new OBGYN as we have moved since my last yearly appointment. I actually would have just driven the 2 hours to the guy who delivered Anadine because I love him that much, but he’s not on our insurance. However, I LOVE this new guy just as much. He sat down with me and had me explain my whole complicated history to him. It’s always funny when doctors see my chart and see that overall I am a pretty healthy person – good weight, no diseases, typical family history, normal cycles, etc. but then I have all of this fertility stuff. Not just one BAM – blocked tubes, but BAM BAM – low ovarian reserve, and then this time is was a BAM BAM BAM – she also has a polyp on her uterus that needs to be removed. They get really confused when they see that I had a tubal ligation (tubes were tied) in March 2011 and a c-section in February 2012. I have to explain that they tied my tubes to give me the best chances of IVF, but that tying my tubes wasn’t really all that necessary because my tubes are deformed and unlike anything any doctor has ever seen or heard of (at least the doctors I’ve ever talked to!)

Anyway, we did my yearly and pap smear so that I’m all up to date on that. As far as he could tell, everything looked good. Then we talked about getting this polyp out. We scheduled it for April 5, which is two weeks away! I am so glad we can go ahead and get it taken care of. It will be an out patient surgery, but they will put me to sleep and I will have a little bit of recovery time afterwards. He said it is technically a D&C, which I wasn’t a big fan of using that terminology, but whatever. I’m just ready for it to be over with! Here is what made me love him – he is filling out the insurance forms and tweaked my charts to make it look like I am having this done because of irregular bleeding so insurance will pay for it. That means we are not paying $1200 out of pocket. We will be paying more like $650, plus we’ll meet our deductible. It’s still a lot of money that I’d rather not pay, and if my organs were normal I wouldn’t have to pay it, but OH WELL here I am whether I like it or not.

In other news, I’ll be seeing my brother and his family this weekend because they’re coming down south for Easter. The exciting part: I get to meet my new niece (born in December). The not so exciting part: I have to have a sit down with my family and explain my decision to them to use donor eggs. My parents both already know, but my brother is the one that I’m nervous about telling. I really think when it comes down to it he will be very supportive and understanding. I just hope I can clearly explain why I want to go this route and why it’s so important for me to have another baby. Wish me luck!

CCRM · donor egg ivf · donor eggs · estrace · infertility · ivf · ivf grants · ivf loan · lupron · progesterone · San Diego Fertility Center · sdfc

SDFC Phone Consult

We had our phone consult with the donor coordinator (Jenna) at San Diego Fertility Center yesterday afternoon. She was incredibly informative, was ready to answer all of our questions, and really put our minds at ease. I don’t have a single doubt that if we chose to go to SDFC, we would be in the best of hands for completing a donor egg cycle.

She walked through the process with us, detailing each step of a donor egg cycle. We would have to do a trial run cycle, in which I would start estrace (estrogen) when my period began to increase the lining of my uterus. I would have to have 3 total ultrasounds (one baseline and then 2 more at one week apart) to check to make sure my lining was increasing. Throughout that cycle I would increase the estrace gradually to see how my uterus responds. Then I would take progesterone to make my period start, start birth control pills to link up my cycle with my donor’s cycle, then begin to process again to build up my lining to prepare for transfer. Estrace and Progesterone: my two least favorite of the drugs! And then when I actually do the cycle, they will add in lupron (the shot that burns as I remember it!) Ah well, the things we do!

I asked if they had a bank of frozen eggs available. She said that they didn’t really do a lot of donor egg cycles with frozen eggs because the technology hasn’t developed enough to successfully freeze single cells. She said that they are constantly trying to develop new ways to make it more successful, but their thoughts are that using frozen eggs at this juncture does not have enough success for them to promote it. I found this information very helpful since that was one of the things I liked about the Chicago clinic ($15,000 cycle for a frozen donor egg cycle). I remember Dr. Surrey at CCRM saying something similar, so it’s easy to trust her: they have found great success with freezing and thawing embryos, but eggs just don’t have enough cells to keep them viable.

Ryan asked her to explain what should make their clinic stand out above the rest. He explained that we were doing a little bit of shopping around, and while we love their customer service (so to speak) San Diego is certainly not our cheapest option in regards to treatment or travel expenses. She said that they are really the pioneers in donor egg IVF. She said that CCRM is known for their successes in IVF and embryo testing: they have an impeccable lab and are on the front end of developments in IVF treatments and protocols (exactly!). Basically what she said, although not in these exact words, is that SDFC is for donor egg IVF what CCRM is for regular IVF. Their founder started donor egg IVF something like 24 years ago, and the first ever donor egg baby is not 32 years old (I don’t know if those are the exact numbers, but you get the gist). Basically, they’ve been at it for a lot longer than most clinics.

So, right now, they are top on my list and I think Ryan agrees. He was very pleased with the consult yesterday. We both know it will probably be a while though because we have to figure out the money issue. SDFC does have an agency that they partner with a lot who does infertility loans. Jenna is supposed to send me some information on that. I’m also looking into grants some more because now I know that they will accept money from third party lenders (CCRM wouldn’t so I didn’t want to go through the grant process if they wouldn’t accept the money – a lot of grants want to pay directly to the clinic).

I also have to get this polyp removed before we can do anything else. I have an appointment with my new OBGYN on March 22, and we’ll hopefully be able to schedule the removal for soon after. It looks like this is going to be a pretty long process. I would be thrilled if I could get pregnant this summer, but it’s looking more and more like it will be closer to a year from now.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Advanced Fertility · Chicago · donor egg · donor egg costs · donor egg ivf · fresh donor egg · frozen donor eggs · infertility · ivf · ivf costs · San Diego Fertility Center · sdfc

Comparing Clinics

So I have been spending the last several days searching and comparing fertility clinics across the US. My head is swimming with information. I have gone on the SART website and checked the stats on any fertility clinic in any place that either a. has family in that city or b. would be a cool place to visit. I have looked into the top 5 clinics on the list of “best fertility clinics for donor eggs.” I have little notes all over the place for each clinic where I have jotted down prices, donor information, etc. It’s been crazy!

San Diego- I have continued to be in contact with the nice lady at SDFC. She has been incredibly helpful. We have a phone consult with her on Monday afternoon to discuss more specifics. The problem with SDFC is its location. Out of all of our options, it would be the most difficult for us to get to. It would probably be an expensive place to stay as well. What I do like about them is their large donor database, and obviously the friendly coordinator who has been so accomodating.

Chicago – Looking at the SART website, Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago’s numbers really look good. In 2015, they did 45 donor egg transfers with a 91% success rate. 45 isn’t a big number of transfers (compared to San Diego’s 88), but 91% success rate is hard to look past. The other pluses for this clinic is that it would be fairly easy to get to from here, and we have family in Chicago which means a free place to stay. The other thing about this clinic is they have a fairly large frozen donor egg bank. This would mean a much lower cost (I think the cost quoted on their website is $15,900) and a lot less planning (I wouldn’t have to sync up my cycle with a donor). I’ll probably post about frozen vs. fresh donor eggs at a later time – I really have to look more into this. I hadn’t even thought about it before I saw it on their website. The annoying thing about this clinic is the nurse I have been in contact with hasn’t been the most approachable person. Granted, I have only talked to her through email, but she hasn’t been very forthcoming with answers to my questions. I have just emailed back a questionnaire she wanted me to fill out, so we’ll see if we can get a consult scheduled with them soon.

New Jersey- They are the second on the list of “best fertility clinics for donor eggs” and their stats look good. I have called them and gotten some pricing. Their prices for their cycles are about the same as SDFC. Who wants to go to New Jersey anyway? I’m going to keep them in the back of my mind, but I just don’t really see that being worth it.

Dallas- I have emailed and called them. Still no response. I’m a little annoyed by that. Looking closer at their stats, they have an 88% success rate for fresh donor eggs, but only did 40 transfers in that year. I still think those are good statistics, and it sure would be convenient. I just want them to call me back already. The real deciding factor there would be the cost and amount of donors in their database.

So that’s what I have for now. I’ve looked at several other clinics, but these are the top 4 at the moment. It makes me sad to be officially saying goodbye to CCRM, but 7 donors in the database at $40,000 just isn’t going to cut it. We have a follow up phone consult with Dr. Surrey next Thursday. I’m debating whether or not to cancel it. It seems silly to pay another $100 to tell him we aren’t going to be seeing him again. Although I still have some questions for him regarding my Doppler test on my uterus. We also haven’t gotten the whole report on the semen analysis yet. I guess I should decide pretty soon what to do about that!