We've now taken the next step. We're looking into our fertility, or rather, infertility. Without the blood tests, sperm analysis and other tests, I already know that the issue falls on me. After all, at this point, I'm almost 44. For the last few years my mother has been asking me "has Dr. J. said anything to you about your eggs? About them being old?" I know I'm older, but do I really need to have my mother remind me? ;)
Dr. M. doesn't pull any punches. She quotes the stats for us, that it's 5-10% chance we could conceive naturally, the risks to me and the baby if we did, all of that stuff. She performs all the necessary blood tests, semen analysis and confirms what I already knew. V. is fine, but I am of "advanced maternal age". In other words I've got old eggs. She wants us to discuss things and make a decision. She is conscious of costs and asks if we have any kind of health coverage. She suggests that we start with some cycles of clomid. Both V. and I have health plans that cover fertility treatments. So because of this coverage we decide to go ahead and give it a shot. Over the next four months, September-December 2004, we use clomid, increasing the dose over those four months, in conjunction with trying naturally. I didn't respond well on the Clomid, only producing one or two eggs. After the four month without success, she suggests that we move to injections. I had wanted to start with injections from the beginning because I know that poor resonders to clomid fare better on injectibles, as do older patients.
January 2005 we moved to the next level - injections with intrauterine insemination (IUI). That first month she put me on 150IU of Gonal-F. We were both hopeful that this would be the key. I did respond a bit better, but I still only had 2 or 3 follicles by the time we triggered. We hoped that by being able to put V.'s sperm right up there it would work. Just like everyone else going through this, we had high hopes for success. Of course it didn't work. However, because she said I had a couple of follicles that had retained fluid after the procedure, we had two wait for them to diminish before we could try again. I know now that I probably had a mild case of OHSS (overian hyperstimulation syndrome) if there is such a thing.
April and May had has trying again with dosages of 225IU and 375IU respectively. I responded a bit better but never had more than 4 or 5 follicles. Even with the IUI it didn't make any difference. It didn't seem like this was meant to be.
Each failure was devastating for me. I knew going into this that it was all a long shot, but even so, the failures were hard. And time was just not on my side. It was time to make a decision. What are our options? Egg donor? Adoption? It's a big decision, and there is a definite cost involved.
We take the summer to talk and think about things.