Friday, 29 May 2009

My answers to their questions

I want to end up with a diagnosis as soon as possible, so I am presenting them with anything in my history that might lead to a diagnosis.

Age: 29
Length of current relationship: 3 years
Trying to get pregnant: 12 months
Date of last menstrual period: 12 May
Age of first menstrual period: 13 years
Days of bleeding during period: 4 days then spotting for another 2 days
Length of periods: 26-32 days
PMS symptoms: Mild
Painful menses: Moderate cramping, one ibuprofen enough for relief
Bleeding between periods: No
Painful intercourse: No
Endometriosis diagnosis: No
IUD in the past: No
STIs: Tested in 2006, never detected
Did my mother take DES while pregnant: Nope, born after 1971
Breast discharge: No
Excessive hair growth: No
Previous pregnancies: None
Previous fertility treatments: None
Family history of disease: No
Sudden heat/Cold intolerance: No
Weight change: No
Hot baths: Warm baths every night
Exercise: 1 hour per week
Possible previous biochemical exposures: chance of sodium azide, ethidium bromide, Listeria, Shigella exposure
Drinks per week: 1-2 during follicular phase, 0 during luteal phase
Smoker: No
Contraceptive use: 1997-2003 BCP, 2003-2007 Implanon, Oct 07-Mar 08 BCP

Rubella vaccination: 1993
Pap smear: Feb 2008 - normal
Chicken pox: 1997
Blood type: O positive

LH tests: Positive result before ovulation
BBT: Thermal shift after ovulation, luteal phase ~ 14 days
Complete blood count: Normal
Serum ferritin: Normal
Thyroid stimulating hormone: Normal

Based on these answers, I think they should be able to rule out:

Luteal-phase defect
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Asherman's syndrom
Advanced maternal age

But there is still a possibility of:

Premature ovarian failure
Fallopian tube blockage
Cervival mucus defects
Fibroids, polyps
Pituitary tumour
Male Factor

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Questions I plan to ask during our first fertility centre appointment

* What are your office hours?
* Who will be our point of contact?
* What specific tests would you recommend to diagnose our infertility?
* How long will it take to diagnose our problem?
* When can we begin treatment?
* Do you have ties to a donor egg/sperm/embryo program?
* Is an up-to-date laboratory located on site?
* What is your success rate with IUI and IVF in couples under 30?
* How many pregnancies performed at this clinic have resulted from IUI? IVF? Egg donation?
* Do you have a specialization for a certain type of treatment?
* How much will treatment cost? Does that include lab work, procedures and medications?
* What outside resources do you recommend?


I walk past these windows every day on my way to and from work. I don't know how, but these headless manikins always seem so smug to me.

This is why they are called cycles

Because they go around and around and around:

I am a scientist. I like to live in an evidence-based reality. I need numbers, charts, and graphs. I like to make quantitative comparisons. So now I have year's worth of patterns to analyse.

I seem to be ovulating. While my follicular phase is a little variable, my luteal phase seems to relatively long and consistent. But I don't know anything else about my body. Are my eggs getting lost? Are my tubes blocked? Is my mucus or lining sub-standard?

Once again, just waiting for a diagnosis.

Always waiting, waiting...

442 days later

442 days off the pill
348 days trying to conceive
11 unsuccessful cycles

At first as soon as I ovulated and Fertility Friend would tell me my due date, I would start planning. Due in March - Spring. Due in April - maybe will share a birthday with my husband. Due in May - maybe will share a birthday with me? Due in June - long summer days.

But month after month, I kept on seeing the one single line on the pregnancy test. It seemed aggressively negative.

We have tried:
The Fertility Diet
LH testing
Saliva testing
Pre-Conceive plus
FertilAide for Men
FertileCM Supplement

And still nothing.

So, not as easy we had originally thought. Something is obviously wrong. This cycle will make 12, and after that we will be officially infertile. We have our first appointment with the Fertility Centre in 17 days. Hopefully we will get a diagnosis, and hopefully technology will be able to treat it.

For us at the moment, controlling prenatal health is the most important factor for us. So if it is an issue of bad sperm or eggs, we are open to the possibility of donor gametes or donor embryos.
Right now, I just want a diagnosis. Then I can start to strategise. I hate not knowing what is wrong, because then I don't know how to fix it.

I have Melissa Ford's Navigating the Land of IF as my road-map to this unexpected destination. So far, it has been a great source of comfort and information. The introduction reads:

"...while you're here, you should know that you have a friend, in book form, to turn to in the middle of the night, when the sea monsters offshore start howling and you just wish you were home."