Wow, can’t believe it has been more than a year since I last posted an entry. While I still read my friends page, I’ve gotten lazy and couldn’t be bothered to blog anymore. It just seems so much easier to use twitter instead. The reason why I’m starting again now is to document my IVF journey. Close friends and my twitter friends will know that Merrill and I are currently undergoing IVF and I have gotten quite a few requests to share the whole process. I figured it’s a good idea since it might be of help to others who are considering assisted reproduction. Plus in future I can show my kids just how much I had to go through for them. Heh!
I suppose I should start from the beginning. After being married for almost 3 years, Merrill and I decided to start trying for a baby sometime late last year. Well, Merrill actually wanted to try earlier but it took a year for my period to come back after I got off the pill so we couldn’t have tried earlier anyway. Most couples who are trying to conceive will probably just try for some time before going for fertility tests if they are unsuccessful but Merrill decided that he didn’t want to waste any time so I booked myself in for an appointment with a gynaecologist at Raffles Hospital that my girlfriend recommended to get some tests done. At the same time, Merrill also arranged to have male fertility tests done at the same hospital.
We went to Sydney for a month after getting the tests done so it wasn’t till late last December that we went back to the hospital for the results. Merrill’s tests came back all clear but the gynae didn’t have very good news for me. My periods have never been regular and I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In addition to that, a HSG test (which bloody hurts by the way) showed that my left fallopian tube is partially blocked. This could be due to a number of reasons (eg. endometriosis) but she will not be able to determine it until a laparoscopy is performed. Unfortunately she will not be able to schedule me in for a laparoscopy until I get my next period (only way to be sure that I am not pregnant while the procedure is being done) so that means we had to wait. I think we ended up having to wait for about 2 months (due to my irregular period) before I was finally booked in for the procedure in early March this year.
The laparoscopy was fairly painless since I was under general anaesthetic. It was my first time having surgery done and I have to say general anaesthetic rawks! It was a little scary initially inhaling the gas coz it feels as if it got harder to breathe as you start to lose consciousness but before you know it you are out and when you wake up the surgery is done. No pain at all! We were told that the procedure was a success, the blockage has been cleared and there was also no sign of endometriosis which is good news. I did have to stay in hospital overnight and Merrill decided to accompany me. I felt so bad though coz even though we opted for a deluxe room with a day bed, the day bed was so hard and uncomfortable that he barely got any sleep the whole night. Not to mention I wasn’t much of a company as I spent most of the day sleeping off the residual effects of the anaesthetic.
With that out of the way, the gynae then prescribed metformin for my PCOS and clomiphene (also known as clomid or clomifene) to help me to ovulate. I started off with 50mg of clomiphene for 1 cycle. I wasn’t responding to it so for the next cycle the dosage was increased to 100mg. Unfortunately I still wasn’t responding to it. The gynae told me that she could increase it to 150mg for the next cycle but higher dosage can sometime make it harder to conceive as clomiphene can decrease the quality of your cervical mucus (which sperm need to make their way to the egg). It can also cause the lining of your uterus to become thinner and hence less ideal for implantation. It was up to me whether I would like to continue trying clomiphene or to try something else. I was told to come in for another appointment with Merrill so that she can discuss our options with us.
Basically we had 2 options, IUI (intrauterine insemination) or IVF (in vitro fertilization). Both will require the use of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries. The difference is that wth IUI, washed sperm (spermatozoa which have been removed from most other components of the seminal fluids) is injected directly into the uterus. IVF however, requires the eggs to be removed from the ovaries, fertilized with the washed sperm in the lab and cultured in an incubator before being transferred back into the uterus. To sum it up, IUI is a less invasive procedure (and also cost a lot less). Unfortunately due to my age and the fact that I actually do have a lot of eggs in my ovaries, the chances of a multiple pregnancy (not talking just twins, but triplets or even quadruplets) is pretty high with IUI and hence is not really recommended for me. Which really just leaves us with the last option, IVF.
And so we begin the long process…