Sunday, April 16, 2006

The next step...

We have some amazing friends. Those who know what we're going through have been extremely supportive. They know how badly we both want to have children. Some have suggested adoption. Now in Ontario, a domestic adoption takes a long time, and invariably will be for an older child. I really want an infant. I really don't want an older child. V. has a 14 year old from his first marriage. She lives with us most of the time. So I already have an older child. Some of you may think this is a poor attitude. After all, I can't have children. Why am I being picky? Don't misunderstand me, I'm not against adoption. Far from it in fact. I would adopt from overseas if we had the money, but we don't. And with me being over 40, who knows if we'd even be accepted as adoptive parents.

Our next choice would be an egg donor. In the US, many fertility clinics have a list of available donors. In fact, some let you go online to their websites and browse their donors by nationality, age, hair/eye colour and religion. But this process can cost in the range of $4000-5000 as a fee to the donor PLUS the medication that they will require. When you go through a clinic in the US, you can be looking at a fee of upwards of $18,000-$20,000 for the IVF procedure, meds and donor. In Canada, it is illegal to sell eggs, sperm and/or embryos. This means that if you want a donor, you have to find someone who is willing to do this for nothing. For some people this can mean a family member, such as a sister or cousin. In my case, this wasn't an option. I don't have any sisters and how do you ask someone to do this for you, especially when we really hadn't told anyone in our families except our parents and siblings. However, we have the most amazing friend. I will call her D. When she heard what we were now considering, she stepped up, unasked and offered to help us. Unaware of what she would have to go through, she volunteered. This from a person who is terrified of needles.

We were floored. Humbled in fact. Absolutely speechless and in awe of this most generous offer. V. and I discussed it. We discussed it with D. She was sure. She asked what the next step was.

So I began researching on the internet, trying to find out costs and such in Canada. Because our doctor doesn't do IVFs we would have to be referred to another clinic. In Ontario it seems that fertility clinics don't want to post costs on their website. They'd rather get you into their office. However, I found several clinics in Montreal that did post prices and they seemed reasonable. I emailed one and got a response with a price that was half the cost to that of the US. We were astounded - $8000 plus meds. It was at that moment that we realized that maybe we could do this.

August 2005 we were able to get into one the clinics to meet with the RE. I had come prepared with our file from our doctor. We all met with the RE and discussed our history. We came back the next day to meet with the psychologist. This was a requirement of the clinic that both the donor (and her spouse if there is one) and the receiving couple meet together and separately with their staff psychologist. We all passed with flying colours. At that same visit, we also met with the head nurse to go through our history again, find out more detailed requirements (we needed V. and D. to have genetic testing), and get the required list of tests that we all had to get done. We were all excited. We liked the people we met, especially M., the nurse, and we liked the overall feel of the clinic. This was it! We were on our way!

Back home I called our doctor and explain the need for tests. Because we're working with a clinic out of province, our doctor will carry out my treatment and liase with the clinic on a daily basis once we begin the procedure. In the meantime, I need the full battery of blood work and ultrasounds done again, and V. needs blood work but because his semen analysis was within the last year, retesting is not required.

When I have the ultrasound the doctor sees the two fibroids that have apparently been there since we started fertility treatments. Because we've made the decision to move forward with IVF and a donor, our doctor decides that it's important that we get the fibroids dealt with because they can affect implantation of the embryo. So off I go to get them evaluated and measured. It turns our I have two under 5cm which is considered small. Based on this report I'm referred to a doctor to see if he can remove them. This appointment is in November. I meet with him but because of their location and type, he is unable to remove them vaginally and has to refer me to yet another physician. This referral is not until April 2o06!!!

Meanwhile, October finds us in Sherbrooke for the genetic testing.

Christmas comes and goes. We all get our tests done and results sent to the clinic. I'm in touch with them because I want to bring them up to date with the fibroid situation. We're deemed good to go, and all is looking good based on our combined results. We are now in a holding pattern while we wait for the appointment in April. I speak with our Doctor at the clinic. She tells me that she would do the exact same thing and send me to deal with the fibroids. She explains the possible surgeries. And she says that regardless of the recovery period based on the method (either 3-4 weeks or 6-8 weeks) she says that she requires a 3 month period following full recovery before we can begin any procedure to ensure that my uterus is fully healed. She suggests that I call the doctor's office weekly and ask about cancellations and just be a pain in the ass. :) Maybe it will get me in earlier. So I do that. Every week I call, sometimes twice a week. Sometimes I leave a message, sometimes I speak to the receptionist. She's very nice. She has my name on a post it note on her computer screen. She's trying to get me in but no luck. Finally, in March I tell her that we're now just waiting for this appointment because we've got the go ahead from our doctor. Unfortunately that doesn't help things. There are just no cancellations. So we wait.

The appointment is this week! April 20th! Keep fingers crossed that a) the surgery is scheduled for the next couple of weeks and b) it is laproscopic rather than full abdominal meaning the recovery time is the lesser.

I will update when I know something.


x said...

Wow, you are on an amazing journey. My clinic (London Health Science Center) is just starting a donor program. They also post there prices if you want to check them out. My cost for an IVF ICSI cycle is $5500 plus meds (about $2000, I am lucky to respond well but unlucky to be self-pay) and maybe $300 for blood work.

All the best this week. I hope you get your appointment very soon.

Penny said...

Good luck, Pam.

You know that Mossy and I are rooting for you and V.

Will say a wee prayer for you each night, when I say my prayers for us, as well.

Keep me posted on that doc's appt!!

Anonymous said...



Assivero East!

Pam said...

Thank you all. I'm back from the doctor and will update later this evening with the details.