Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Study

Be careful what you wish for.

Remember in my last post when I said I wished my insurance had IVF coverage?

Well, it doesn't.

BUT…. after having a vivid dream this weekend about investigating IVF studies (weird, right?), and knowing of one currently going on at my clinic, I shot out an email to the head of the study.

Turns out I qualify. And could start as soon as December.

It's for women ages 35-42 who have regular cycles and have been trying to get pregnant. It definitely isn't free, but between the insurance coverage we do have and the stipend the study provides, we could do a full IVF cycle for about 1/4 of what it normally costs. And I actually have enough savings right now to afford it should we choose to pull the trigger.

So therein lies the million dollar question… do we pull the trigger?

After talking with the head nurse and hearing everything entailed with IVF, I felt a bit overwhelmed. It is definitely a time, money, & body commitment to go through this process! And? The stats for our clinic overall for IVF pregnancy success in women ages 38-42 is 27%. And of that 27% only 19% go on to a live birth. So there is an 80% chance this all would amount to nothing but a lot of crazy hormones & heartache.

The nurse was quick to point out that I am on the lower end of the 38-42 age range. I also know that all of my tests for egg reserve and quality have been excellent. That BC's numbers are almost always excellent. So I'd like to think that maybe our stats might be more favorable than the average. 

However the possibility of failure still terrifies me.

I am pretty sure I would not be ready to go full in with December's cycle. Especially considering the Holidays, and how we'd be at my body's whims for procedural timings. Sorry family, I can't come to Christmas this year because we have to retrieve some eggs! See 'ya in 2015.

What does feel right is possibly planning ahead to say something like "if we are not pregnant by the start of my January (or February) cycle, THEN we will move forward and go all in with the study." Knowing full well that I can change my mind about participating at any time. And taking the risk that the study could end before I get the chance to participate.

One reassuring thing I did learn is that if we had more than 2 good quality embryos as a result of this IVF we could freeze the remaining ones toward future frozen embryo transfers (FETs). Those are much more affordable and less invasive per try, so that is a good silver lining to have in the back of my mind should we participate in the study and not conceive. 

Of course I am holding out hope that we become pregnant on our own before having to consider the study. Miracles can happen, and our Iyla Grace is an excellent example of just such a miracle! But the fact remains we've been actively trying again for 1.5 years, and I am not getting any younger- so having a PLAN and this study opportunity might not be such a bad thing. I really am at the point where I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring another little one into our family. I am so ready!

Those of you who follow this blog and have been on the infertility roller-coaster (or just want to chime in!), what would you do? 

Decisions, decisions. Grateful at the very least to have this opportunity to consider.


  1. I lamented over the fact that we have done all 3 of our IVF rounds with the public clinic (and one frozen embryo still left). I was ready to beg to do one more round, especially if the last one hadn't worked. And I still thought about begging if we hadn't gotten a surprise BFP this summer...

    I know IVF can be rough and has lots of chemicals/medicines, but I was ready for that to have the kids I wanted.

    In the end, it is totally up to you. Good luck and may you not need it after all!

    1. Thanks so much! Congrats on your surprise BFP- that is awesome!

  2. I would jump at the chance. In December. :) sorry family, can't come home for Christmas! :)

    What serendipitous happenings! I would have die to get into a study, I would nt pass it up.

    I do think you have a good chance, given your age, but I also think you have a good chance on your own too. But to rule this out, and possible have frozen, would be awesome. Or it doesn't work but you tried, so then you can try naturally too afterwards. IVF didn't work te first time for me, however my body was still able to do it on its own, I guess timing wast right and the universe had other plans for me.

    1. Ha! Love your enthusiasm. I filtered my clinic's stats based on "unexplained fertility" as the criteria, and those stats look more to be 50-60% for my age bracket, so that is good to see too. I am glad to have this possibility dangling before us… and hope I have a good intuitive PUSH as to when the "when" might be right!

  3. I also go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth about this. I will not sugar coat - IVF was HARD on me and it was incredibly hard on our marriage. The scars are still very fresh. I don't think I could go back down that rabbit hole. Had Sabine come to us though a miracle and not massive scientific intervention, though, I think I would go all-in with the IVF study to try for a second. But all of this has zero baring on you. This is such an intensely personal decision that has a lot more factors than money and holiday. Take the time to soul search with your husband.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts and honesty! Intervention cycles definitely take their toll on your lives, as the schedules & hormones override everything. I hear you completely. Hence committing together to a "go" month. My husband is completely of the mindset of letting nature takes its course without intervention, but also tells me he'll support whatever I want to do there.

  4. We went through many cycles....2 fresh and 5 frozen. We were in the top end of statistics and being given 70-80% odds each cycle....and here we are 2/6 (first cycle we didn't transfer because of OHSS). HOWEVER, odds on our own - after trying for over a year without help were 5%, so even 27% sounds pretty good compared to 5%! And I do think the fact that you have had a miracle pregnancy after 3 years would help your odds too. Personally, I couldn't turn back, I knew we would not quit until we had a baby (and then a second baby), so we just kept marching and doing whatever we could. Eventually it has just got to happen, I think pure stubbornness got us there :).
    I say go for it!!! Those studies don't come along too often, and you don't want to be looking into IVF a year from now at full cost. Also, there is some weird phenomenon where women who undergo IVF are more likely to get pregnant at a later date, so even a failed cycle might up your odds!
    The biggest thing I found with IVF that was hard was that somehow you get your hopes even higher - it is supposed to work. So it is even more of a letdown when it does not. Plus the drugs = one horrific disappointment if it doesn't work. The drugs etc are hard and stressful, but it goes by quickly and feels like progress towards a baby. And while it was hard and sad and stressful, we persevered through it and I feel like we came out stronger.
    Good luck!

    1. Thanks for this! Yes- that is where my hesitant TERROR comes in- at knowing how big the disappointing fall would be if we DID do all of that and it didn't work. The silver lining would be hopefully having some frozen embryos result from the study. Appreciate the honesty of your experience!