Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Changing Your Mindset

I love blogging. I don't do it often enough, but I enjoy going back to re-read my previous posts to see how I was feeling at a particular time.  After re-reading my last fertility related post, I realized I was angry and frustrated. It was valid anger and frustration, but I am that way so infrequently that reading it makes me smile a little. It shows me I'm still IN this, still fighting for it.  Sometimes it takes a while for the brain to process and emotions to follow.

My husband's second semen analysis using the more accurate protocol came back much the same as the first.  Out of 500 total sperm tested, in batches of 100 at a time, only 1 out of every 100 are considered normal. We're looking essentially at 1%, where a fertility specialist wants to see nothing under 4%.  When talking about abnormal, we found it doesn't necessarily mean his are freakish by any means. What we found was mildly encouraging. They aren't crazily misshapen, no double heads or tails, no missing tails, no coiled up or odd shapes. The nurse said "yours aren't too bad. We see some crazy sperm sometimes".  Most of what was considered his abnormal were wedge-shaped heads, or a little thickening of the area right under the head.

Unfortunately, there is not enough known about the process of what attracts sperm to an egg. "They" say the egg has almost a signaling beacon of sorts which only attracts perfect good sperm. "They" also say abnormal sperm are still able to penetrate an egg and make a perfectly healthy baby. My doctor actually said "I can't guarantee that his morphology issues are the reason you aren't staying pregnant". My confusion level skyrocketed. So, are his sperm our problem or not?

They came to my test results.  Shockingly, after a crazy number of vials of blood and testing, everything with me came back in their normal range. I'm still not sure how that is at all possible, but he literally said "there is nothing at all we would treat you for".  Even all of my testing for PCOS issues like testosterone and androgen hormones all came back normal. He said my ovarian reserve testing came back "good". I happened to see the number they had down for that AMH test, and it was a 3.73.  I didn't know what that meant at the time, but if they say it's good, it's good, right?

This doctor was quite specific with his recommendations. IVF is most highly recommended (about $15,000 for a 42.9% chance at a live birth), followed by a monitored cycle with Clomid (a ovulation inducing medication) followed by an insemination ($6,700 for a 20% chance). Last on the list, and not recommended, would be a monitored Clomid cycle without insemination, but with timed intercourse instead. The nurse said right away that it's not recommended because really it's no different than what we've been doing already.

After our appointment, we were both left feeling a bit frustrated and lost. It also led to a pretty big disagreement over what to do financially and whether or not to put a price tag on our future child(ren). After a lot of soul searching and discussion, we've come to the conclusion that barring any new information we may gain with a 2nd opinion, we'll wait out the rest of 2012, in hopes of doing this on our own. He's agreed to get healthier, diet with me, stop his caffeine and start his vitamins.  My hope is that now that we're at least established patients with the fertility clinic, they'll be really on top of monitoring me at the next positive test. Hopefully if there is some yet-undetected issue with me, they'll catch it early and we can make the next one stick. 

I'm currently on cycle day 19, and should be ovulating any day now. Bring it!

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