Posts Tagged ‘eggsharing’

Fertilisation update and it is AWESOME.

October 2, 2012

All seven have fertilised! This is great. Fantastic. Superb!

The embryologist talked to TMD and said because all eggs have fertilised, we are looking at a transfer on Saturday.

For those who are not IVF buffs, here is a small breakdown.

Eggs get taken out and fertilised that same day. If none of the embryos are looking good, you do a two day transfer because it is better to just get them back in. If you have a couple of frontrunners that look great, but the rest are not so great, you do a day three transfer. If all the embryos are looking awesome, you can do a day five transfer. This gives you an extra couple of days to see how they develop so the strongest embryo/s can be picked. Obviously it also means the embryos are further along and likely to be hatching – the stage at which they would be implanting if they were inside your womb.

Last time we did a day three transfer, but really because that was standard practice at the time. Although, as I have said before, the embryos that developed into our children WERE the frontrunners, so even by today/the new clinic’s standards, we likely would have had a three day transfer anyway.

Now we wait. He said they would call Thursday morning with a decision, which is a trifle complicated what with TMD’s work and all, so we plan to talk to them tomorrow afternoon for another progress report.

I was still a bit worried that all our eggs wouldn’t be mature, some having come out of tiny follicles, so this is truly amazing. We have seven little embryos just doing their thang! Let’s hope they continue to grow, grow, grow.

Thank you all for all the comments. I know it may sound silly, but they are keeping us going. This has all been so stressful, and it has been such a huge support to log in here and read all your words (hi, Liv!), especially as no one aside from our parents knows we are doing IVF in real life. And our parents spend most of their time warning us against twins and worrying about us. You guys are stars.

Now if you’ll excuse me, yesterday’s sedation/the stress-adrenaline is kicking my ass. I slept all day yesterday and all last night, and still woke up tired. My pain levels following egg collection are much less than last time, with no blood.

I guess my fat, old self is KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES!

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Egg collection part 2, the full story.

October 1, 2012

We woke up at an ungodly hour this morning, which featured TMD needing to insert her first ass pessary. That’s always a nice way to start the day.

We left before the sun had risen, and the total lack of traffic meant we whizzed across the border and into the city. It was nice to be with her. Like a date, except less sexy and more full of worry. We were in the city about an hour early, so we walked along the mostly empty streets as the sun rose. Golden light softened the castle, which was gorgeous, and we counted an unbelievable number of coffee and shoe shops. We also went into one so that I could get what I fondly call ‘ass sick’ in the bathroom.

When we got to the clinic, I found out I was the fifth and final egg collection patient, and there were only four rooms on the surgical floor. So we sat for two and a half hours in the main waiting room, which was oddly fun as uglier and uglier flowers and furniture were being delivered. I started whispering to TMD that I could shoot a documentary there, but I think on reflection no one would want to watch it.

We were finally called upstairs at 10:30, which I thought was cutting it as the collection was scheduled for 11. We went through the normal pre surgery stuff – medical checklists, warnings about surgery, triple checking the ID card that would be used to safeguard the embryos. Then shit got real. We told the nurse we had decided to not proceed with eggsharing. She didn’t bat an eye.

I did say, but we do have the caveat that if somehow more eggs were collected than expected, we will be happy to share. She was very clear there was no way that could happen. I jokingly said, ‘You don’t know. I may be a medical marvel. You do hear about medical miracles!’ She laughed again and reiterated it would not happen. No chance. We already knew that, and were honestly expecting six eggs to be the end result.

The doctor came in and it was pressure city. She told us the fee was an extra six thousand, not the four thousand we came in expecting to pay. Apparently you get the cheaper rate if you try to eggshare and it fails. But if you withdraw, you have to pay for every single thing. The doctor just kept listing fees, and TMD was getting whiter and whiter. I asked the doctor to have someone give us a total, and also leave us alone for a few minutes so we could talk privately.

Well, as TMD pointed out, this was the stuff of medical documentaries. A very tense few minutes of pressured discussion. TMD was very, very upset about the money. You all know we just about break even every month, so spending that much money in one chunk was something we could probably never recover from. I saw her upset and this intense sense of calm came over me. TMD suggested we take the gamble – go ahead with eggsharing, especially since we thought it was very unlikely they would get the minimum of eight eggs necessary. So we would save ourselves money, but take the risk of them getting eight eggs and us therefore only having four.

And you know, I was okay with it. Our priority has to be the children, and spending that much money – Jesus. That’s a lot of living. And we do have the two perfect children for us. If this didn’t work out, I could be happy. I like our family. I’d be disappointed about not having this third child I feel is still missing, but not at the expense of the two we have. And TMD. Her face was so terrible when they kept saying more and more money we would have to pay. I couldn’t do that to her. Could not.

So we took the gamble.

This time, I was conscious throughout the collection. I did have an ass pessary for painkilling, one for antibiotics, IV painkillers, and IV sedation. That shit HURT. Hurt like woah. Let me tell you, needles are not supposed to pierce your vaginal walls. Lucky for me, the anaesthetist was amazing and supportive, and it was all fine.

The doctor is all jamming needles into my ovaries, while the embryologist (named Snort!) called out the number of eggs retrieved. Then he said, ‘Eight.’ The doctor was overjoyed and said, ‘Eight! Existere, did you hear that?’

‘Yes, eight.’ It was what we were not hoping for. At that point I thought, okay, so we will have four eggs. I still felt very calm and accepting.

The it was done and the doctor said, ‘Do you want to know how many we got? THIRTEEN.’ Everyone was whooping and so excited. I was shocked. The doctor explained that all of my small follicles, the ones that had been deemed useless, somehow all had eggs in them.

Medical miracle.

So, folks, there we are. Sitting across that bridge in an incubator we have seven little eggs that were fertilised this afternoon. Tomorrow we will get a call telling us how many actually fertilised and went on to develop. We have used ICSI, which is when a single sperm is injected directly into each egg, rather than just letting the two mix in a petri dish.

The transfer is, all things going well, on Thursday or Saturday. Sedation is not available on weekends, which TMD is terrified about, but as I said right before they started the egg collection, ‘Whatever will be, will be.’ Corny but strangely calming.

This is the outcome we wanted from the start. Enough eggs for us to have a real shot, AND enough for the recipient as well. This is the outcome we were told would not happen.

And yet somehow today, a minor medical miracle has happened, and we got a lucky thirteen eggs in this month of Halloween. Let’s hope our tide of bad luck has turned, and those little babies are doing some hardcore growth and cell division tonight. I TOLD them this was a serious business, and apparently the eggs were listening.

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IVF do it yourself.

September 25, 2012

You know what truly awful words are when you are utilising reproductive technology?

‘So, you’re giving half your eggs to your partner, and half to the same recipient as last time? Yes? Okay. Wow, well, we are cutting it a bit close. I’m going to talk to a doctor.’

And then you LEAVE ME ALONE IN A ROOM FOR FIVE MINUTES while I quietly sweat.

It was odd. Just one person was scanning me, and she gave me a post it note and a pen so I could write down my own follicle measurements as she did them. To the best of my recall, my right ovary has a 14, 12, 10.5, and three 10s. My left has five 10s and something else. My lining is 11. None of this worried me. Last time my counts were similar, I think, and they ended up getting 18 eggs out. And it did take me a couple of extra days to grow big enough to harvest them. I don’t recall at this point what they need to be. 18 mm? 20? Does anyone know?

So my first fear was that the nurse meant I didn’t have enough follicles to carry on with eggsharing. Upon reflection, I think (hope) she means that they aren’t big enough yet to count on a Monday egg collection, which is when they have me scheduled. I don’t care about that. As long as it doesn’t impact TMD’s cycle, anyway. Next Wednesday would be great in terms of her taking time off or it being the weekend for the embryo transfer.

At any rate, I did not seek clarification. I DID seek reassurance. Namely, wtf. My gonal-f has been upped from 200 to 300, and I asked if it would impact the ultimate number of eggs to start this dosage so late in the cycle. Se was all, ‘Take it easy, dude, this is only your first scan of the stimulation.’ So I was like, ‘Listen, dudette, last cycle they scanned me EVERY OTHER DAY from the fucking start, yo, not waiting a full week for the first scan.’

My next scan is Friday. So whatever wasn’t quite good enough today, in terms of quantity or size, has a few days to improve. Fingers crossed, crossed, crossed.

IVF rolls on.

September 12, 2012

Yesterday I got a panicked message from TMD – the clinic had called. Through a series of spectacular errors, they did not have results from her Hep B Core on file, so she had to run out from work and drive to another fucking country to pay a LOT of money to get her blood drawn.

And afterwards, she had to find a bookstore with maps because her wife was lost in bad traffic and crying on the phone. But that is neither here nor there.

She stopped the pill a little less than a week ago. I took my last pill yesterday. A side note: my moods were fantastic this cycle. Something to consider should my PMDD be horrible in months to come. I’d prefer to NOT take medicine, but still.

Injections are still going good. TMD’s tummy looks like she’s being attacked every morning and the bruising is quite fantastic. I have no bruising but the meds do often feel quite stingy, whereas she rarely seems to feel the meds.

Her first scan is tomorrow, which is apparently the official day the clinic considers the first day of real treatment. I’m going to make her ask about ICSI, since the nurse she saw yesterday told her prices (donate to me. Really. I’ll give you my PayPal address. Ha.) and ICSI was mentioned as, ‘Oh, you pay for that only if you need it.’ Last time, ICSI (injecting a sperm into each egg) was an automatic part of treatment in a donor cycle, to give you the best chance of as many eggs fertilising as possible, since of course even once they fertilise they still need to develop.

So.

That’s where we are. She’s going to tell her boss today what is going on, because despite the fact that her work is very uptight, the benefits of telling outweigh the benefits of not telling. I have to go make chocolate stuffed bananas with the kids for breakfast. Yeah.

How do I feel about children who are biologically related to me, yet not mine?

September 4, 2012

Awhile back, the lovely Lyssie asked about how I felt regarding eggsharing. You know, that little sidenote of IVF that led to an anonymous recipient having a baby last time around – and the same woman is getting my eggs this time as well. (Though they become her eggs, in my mind, the instant they leave my body.)

You know, before I thought about the mechanics of lesbians having children, I was pretty against sharing my DNA with a stranger. I had a selfish this-is-mine attitude that I think is totally normal and probably the more prevalent attitude in society. I also think there is more stigma, emotions, etc attached to donating eggs because it is about a million times more demanding than donating sperm. (Not that I don’t appreciate sperm donors. Holla!)

Years ago we went to a presentation by our clinic aimed at couples who were considering using reproductive technology to expand their families. And it was during this presentation that my eyes filled with tears and my heart with longing and I knew I would do whatever it took to have children. Anything and everything, and that was before I knew how incredible (and fucking exhausting) parenthood was.

Not to  mention the success rates. If we did IUI (intrauterine insemination, when washed sperm is placed directly into the uterus), the success rate at our prestigious and worldwide reputed clinic was 23 percent over THREE cycles (and that’s back when I was fucking young). The success rate quoted to me for IVF, at that time, was 55 percent.

WELL. I liked the maths, and the only way we could afford IVF was to eggshare. (A note on eggsharing – at age 16, the children in Country B who were conceived using donor eggs or sperm can get confirmation that someone they are dating is not related to them. At 18, their donor’s name and contact information is released to them, should they want it. I hope this other family does reach out to us one day, but that is perhaps the subject of another entry…if you remind me.)

When the head nurse called to say she had a match for me, and the match was super excited and grateful, something flared in my chest. Like a big firework of happiness and love for this random woman I’d never met.

You guys, women who need eggs have probably been trying to have a child for years. Trying conventional ways,  having testing, more invasive ways, multiple cycles of IVF, and then facing a two to three year wait for an egg donor – and this is at a private clinic, where things move more quickly. Can you fucking imagine that, all the agony and money and time and dashed hopes? I can’t.

I’m lucky because I can’t.

So we did it. And we got a card from her, and I plan to write HER a card this time – and I know that I feel better about this decision BECAUSE it is this same woman. I don’t know why, I know it’s illogical, but there it is. I didn’t think much about it during my pregnancy, but once my children were born I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. A lot.

I looked at the gorgeousness of Snort and Coconut and couldn’t help wondering about that third child. Did they have the same birthday? Were they smiling yet? Had I made an awful mistake?

But you know, the bottom line is that I can’t regret anything I did that led to the successful pregnancy and birth of my most beloved twins. Not one thing. And the joy they bring to me….knowing I helped another family have that makes me feel good. Just plain old ordinary good. Warm and steady and happy.

And of course, my children were created with the assistance of a generous anonymous man who gave us his sperm. It doesn’t make those kids any less ours, just as I hope the woman who birthed that other child loves him or her fiercely and amazingly. Like I know she must, because that baby was so wanted. And she felt that baby kick at her ribs, she birthed that baby, she bonded with her child. And I hope she gets to do it again, just as I hope to see my wife’s belly swell with our much wanted child, this third baby wonder my children will embrace, her breasts will feed, my body will comfort as she or he is wrapped close to my heart.

What a world where our children are so wanted and valued and we have to work so damn hard to get them. And it’s a community of people standing shoulder to shoulder with us. That man as he donates sperm, and a second man who gives us new sperm to create this new life. Me as I give eggs to that woman who longs for a baby, a sibling for her baby. We’re all connected together, and the bottom line is that this is a path of love and selflessness and hope. We may do what we do for different reasons, but our goal is the same:

to hear that new baby cry as they enter the world, to draw them close, to expand our families and hearts.

 

 

IVF – round two.

August 14, 2012

We can say we have officially begun our IVF protocol, since myself, my wife, and the egg recipient are now all on the pill. For those who aren’t sure of what’s going on, I’ll be stimulating my ovaries to produce a nice crop of eggs, then giving half to my wife and half to an anonymous recipient. I’ve actually shared eggs with this same anonymous woman in the past, so it’s nice to try to help her expand her family again.

And, of course, our hopes are to expand our family again, too. While the emotional part of me would LOVE another set of twins, the rational part knows we should be aiming for a single baby this time. And TMD certainly is in the singleton camp.

So, I’ll be gearing up to share all the nitty gritty. I know last time I heard from quite a few people who were undergoing IVF. I hope to help people again this time.

This time the focus will be on what happens when a married lesbian couple wants eggs from one partner to turn into embryos for the other partner to carry. And, of course, egg sharing and the whole TTC process. Please do share with people who may benefit from the information. I haven’t seen many blogs explicitly cover how the whole lesbians carrying their partner’s egg thing works, and I know I’ve been curious in the past. The next couple of months is a chance for us all to learn!

I’ve missed the dildocam.

June 19, 2012

Road trip to Country W today. I’m having my antral follicle count – to see how many follicles (and therefore possible eggs) I produce in a natural cycle. It’s day 4 of my period.

Let’s hope things look good, as TMD and I are moving forward with various screening tests. And, an additional cool thing, I mentioned to the clinic that the woman I previously shared eggs with had requested to be informed if I donated in future. She’s apparently thrilled, grateful, and already on the pill waiting to be synched with my cycle.

So half my eggs to TMD, half to this other woman. Unfortunately our same sperm donor is not available, but we don’t really mind that much. This new baby is OUR baby, you know? Whether they have green hair or purple eyes is irrelevant.

The most interesting part of today is TMD’s dad. He has to come along as I’ll have the kids. No doubt I’ll have to take them on my own at some point, but this first appointment it’ll be nice to have them in the waiting room with FIL.

I have consequently discovered a neat little trick to end any conversation. I simply say ‘ovaries’ or something similar.

So, I’ll update you later! Peace out, yo.

Ah, the game changes.

March 16, 2012

Just got off the phone from ‘our’ fertility clinic (please read entry I wrote about an hour ago for more details on my current TTC freak out!). I forgot how fucking nice IVF nurses are. We talked for a full half hour. And there’s been an interesting development.

Me: There’s no reason to think TMD won’t be fertile enough to share eggs, and my fertility might have changed, but is it a possible scenario for ME to donate half my eggs to an anonymous couple and the other half to TMD?

Nurse: Oh, yes. We do that all the time.

!

This changes the ballgame. There are huge advantages to that route, namely that it would be ME who had to have all the monitoring appointments and TMD wouldn’t need to miss work. I’m over my romantic views of pregnancy (for me, anyway, for TMD getting pregnant I would step up, folks!), and don’t feel any need to have TMD come along to any of the egg-making appointments.

Also, uh, passports. Last night TMD pointed out that a kid she had might be screwed for getting a passport from Country A. Now, the law HAS changed here. Babies conceived by IVF in a fertility clinic with two mums automatically get both mums listed on the original birth certificate. (This law changed four months after we conceived Snort and Coconut, thus TMD needing to adopt them. That is a whole different ongoing pain in my ass.) So if my name was on the birth certificate, would Country A give any kids TMD had an issuance of a foreign birth? And if so, they would get a passport.

Country A is not very gay friendly, but if it were MY eggs, perhaps there is some argument to be made in regards to TMD being a ‘surrogate’ carrier for ‘my’ child/children? This is where is sucks having an anonymous blog because I’d love to ask you all for info, but am aware some of you don’t know details. But let’s be honest. You can GUESS Country A, can’t you? Land of the free, home of the brave, hater of the gay, and all that?

So anyway. TMD has no idea when her last period was. (ARRRGH!! Ha. I am totally the boss of this motherfucking pregnancy, at least until she actually has a kid in there.) Our plan we are going forth with is immediately registering with a new doctor after we move and trying to get TMD an appointment next week, before she starts her new job. She needs an AMH blood test (costs 95, and results are given at the 295 appointment! Shite!) and if we can get it done free locally that is a huge bonus. This is the baseline test which checks her fertility – if it’s good enough to eggshare, we move forward. If it isn’t, I guess we get me tested.

My hormones are definitely changing. I’m back to being a crazy ass monster before my periods. This ended when I got pregnant and has been gone since giving birth. So hopefully the return of my I’m-going-to-fucking-KILL-you moods means my hormones are all geared up for babies. If needed.

I don’t know if we will go with TMD’s eggs or mine. All the advantages seem to be with going with me, fertility permitting, but we shall see. My new pal the nurse at the clinic is going to get in touch with the main branch (where we had Snort and Coconut created! miracle!) and see if there is sperm available from their donor. We’d like to use the same sperm donor.

But you know, if his swimmers weren’t available, I wouldn’t care.

I don’t care about what eggs are used. I don’t care about what sperm is used. Because none of that really matters. It’s hard to tell that to someone trying very hard to conceive their first child. They might be very invested in picking the ‘perfect’ donor. But I’ll tell you, these kids of ours? I love them.

I love them with blue eyes, I love them with brown eyes. I love them with curly light brown hair, I love them with wavy/straight white blonde hair. They are MY children, OUR children, and they would be our children even if they had been born to another woman on another continent.

Our children are our children, however they get to us.

And speaking of getting kids to us, I guess this whole fertility TTC thing will mean I am blogging endlessly about the subject again. So….either enjoy it, or I apologize, or something. Love you all.

Bodily shaking and baby making.

October 17, 2008

OH MY GOD. I would write this entire entry in capital letters if good grammatical sense wasn’t so deep rooted.

Just talked with the nurse. She said the woman I am donating eggs to is only five days behind me, period wise. She thinks that this means I can skip the extra month’s waiting and the birth control pill. What does this mean?

THAT I WOULD GO IN TOMORROW TO BEGIN TREATMENT. Wha

————

Okay. She called back.

My shaking body subsided with a proper crash: things are back to usual. I begin taking the pill when my period comes next week, go in to the clinic to run through everything with the nurse, and treatment begins. But there is STILL a bonus. They will begin ‘down-regulating’ me (this means switching off my normal hormones via injections) at day 14 or possibly even earlier!! Normally downregging begins on Day 17ish.

The nurse said her goal would be to have the entire treament cycle complete by the end of November/early December.

She also said that the woman who will be receiving my eggs is very, very excited. I just made the absolute switch from being unsure to feeling absolutely delighted about helping another woman conceive a child.

Part of me still feels crushed that things aren’t rolling tomorrow – and I feel upset as I’ve been calling the clinic all week as I suspected there might be a snowball’s chance in hell of sorting this out. If I was in the office alone I might cry, maybe? But on the other hand, I feel completely delighted, ecstatic, and hopeful that by the time Christmas is here I may be preggo with one or two eggos.

If the time span of 10 minutes can send me on this much of a high and low – not to mention TMD who was blasted from nowhere with a phone call saying we might begin trying tomorrow – I wonder what the rest of this journey will be like. I’m reading a good book now (the IVF one on my ‘baby books’ page – just started it this morning) and it says what a lot of things do: view IVF as a journey, not an instant fix. However, facts remain that most people have a successful pregnancy within three cycles of IVF.

Am I naive and too optimistic? I’d rather feel happy during this process than emotionally ripped apart. I think many women who end up at IVF have done just that – ended up there after months or years of trying other options. TMD and I have chosen to just fast forward through all that and START with IVF. I feel really solid about IVF. I really fucking hope it works first time, though.