Whilst IVF can be very a wonderful thing when it works, it can also be a frustrating experience when it doesn’t – particularly if you are over 40 years of age. The trouble is that your body clock time bomb is clicking away and unfortunately the quality of your eggs declines rapidly at this time. In fact, while the quality of embryos declines from about the age of 32 (yes 32), the decline is much more rapid at age 40 and above.
How do I know this? I visited a new IVF fertility specialist today. As kindly as what he was in delivering the bad news it was devastating to hear the facts. I had gone to him in hope only to be delivered bad news. At least it was more realistic than what my current Doctor tells me. My current fertility specialist tells me don’t worry you will get pregnant. Even though I know the odds are stacked against me it keeps me in hope. Hearing the facts from the new specialist made me upset. My age and the fact that 99% of my husbands sperm is abnormally shaped is a key problem. I had gone to him looking for a solution. Although I don’t think this is what I got.
On the positive, he told me his clinic did things differently. For a start, he would be the doctor who treated me – not like the clinic I currently attendwhere I get treated by whoever is scheduled to treat me on the day (a major plus). He told me that this particular clinic only did Day 2 embryo transfers not blastocysts. He thought the fact that I had lost so many embryos at Day 5 was wasteful. Interesting – a debatable point amongst the world’s experts.
It seems there are two schools of though in IVF – Day 2/3 transfers versus Day 5. My current clinic does either day 3 or Day 5 but this clinic doesn’t. In any case, I was directed to the patient co-ordinator and we set up some appointments to begin my next cycle. The first thing that happened was that I was informed that as I was deemed medically infertile, I would not be eligible for the medicare rebate and as such my total costs would be $12,800 with no hope of rebate. I was shocked. I went back to the Doctor to check this and discovered he had made a mistake. Phew – was I relieved. One hurdle down. However my next hurdle made me question why I was changing clinics in the first place.
When I analyzed the treatment protocol what I discovered shocked me. What shocked me the most was that he was recommending an Antagonist cycle with the same medication as what I had previously been on. He was also not convinced on the Colorado Treatment protocol. As far as I could see, there really wasn’t any major difference between the treatment protocols which clearly was not working for me. The only difference was the day the embryo got transferred.
With this in mind, I had to question why go through the heartache of change. The steps I would need to take to change clinics would mean I would need to get all the paperwork on police record checks and child protection checks from my current clinic. My husband and I would also have to go through counselling all over again. The clinic locations were not as easy and accessible for us to get to. All these steps would mean another delay to my treatment.
On reflection, I don’t think this clinic is offering me anything different. I can choose to transfer an embryo on day 3 instead of day 5 at my current clinic. Personally, I am not convinced that there is a hell of a lot of difference between Day 2 and Day 3 embryo transfers. Ours all seem to survive to Day 3. So I think I should just save myself the heartache and continue with my current clinic but still explore another doctor in that clinic who I know will offer a different protocol to what I am currently doing. Heck I might as well even try a day 3 transfer. At 40, I might as well try and preserve what embryos I have.