Sunday, May 31, 2009

Over 40 High FSH Success Stories

On the Women Over 40 With High FSH message board, there is a post called the Over 40 Timeline. It is a post that contains the successes of the women from that board. Whenever someone has a baby, they come back to add themselves to that post. Many times though, the ladies are so busy after the birth that they don't have time to come back and post (which is completely understandable), so this isn't a comprehensive list. But still, the number of success cases is amazing. It is a truly inspiring list. I refer to it often when my spirits are in need of a lift, like now!

Some interesting points:
  • The oldest person on the list is Annie from Finland, with a baby at age 47, and highest FSH 37.
  • Highest FSH on the list is Toni, who clocked in at 110.

Remember, this is just the ladies who used to post on this one message board. Such a small subset of everyone out there who was ever diagnosed with high FSH and are in their 40s!

Here is the list copied from the message board. It is current as of April 2009.


High FSH Babies (age is at conception)
* konni (41.5, highest FSH btw 14 & 20) - ttc 2.5 yrs; natural cycle; I had ZIFT the previous month, clomid-fsh stims, antagon. I had a chemical pg. I think the key was that the fimbrae were clumped and the tubes were positioned oddly due to scarring; baby born June 2002

* PatR (age 40 & 43 - two high FSH babies, FSH 17-22) - natural cycles., no supplements beyond a prenatal, no acupuncture, no change in diet, consistent exercise

* Deedee (42, highest FSH 23.6) - ttc#2 3 yrs (after first high FSH baby), conceived au naturel (with the help of a lot of herbs, supplements, and alternative medicines), little Ellie born Feb 2003

* EE (40.9 with DD, 43.3 with DS; highest FSH 18.6) - ttc DD 1.5 years, DS a surprise! DD - Antagon protocol max stims, DS natural, DD born 7-03? DS born 12/05/06, 2 days after my 44th birthday!

* Wexy (41) - IVF, baby born 2003 or 2004

* Kathleen (41) - IVF w/donor S, baby born 2003 or 2004

* Dale (41) - natural after her DH left her (I believe because she could not get pregnant) and with an old boyfriend (hey she posted the story to everyone), baby born 2003 or 2004

* omissy (bday Aug 63, FSH 23.6 in Oct 02)-ttc#1 2+ yrs, 4 m/cs '02-'03, never ART/Stims; no clomid (canx after day3); Hashimotos & MTHFR. DS#1 (natural pg at 40.9)shortly after LIT in Mexico, 6mos Acupuncture, steroids for neck injury, many herbs/supp, natural monitoring at clinic (U/S & B/W w/o doing drugs/ART) and thyroid treat. Switched from Synthroid to Armour thyroid Feb 04.. Lovenox, BA, progesterone, & LIT booster once pg; DS#1 born Feb 2005 at 41.6yo; . #2 >(natural pg at 42.9 after about 9 months of timed BD) Lovenox, BA and a booster LIT. DS#2 born Jan 07 at 43.5yo; #3natural pg at 44. 5 after about 6mos of no protection. Lovenox therapy only. DS#3 born Oct 08 at age 45.2 http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/message/1237944890/Links+to+oldposts++++%28pg%2Cmscg%2C+children%29

* Parisgirl (44, highest FSH 19.6) - ttc#1 3 years, 2 m/c, 2 failed high stim IVFs (poor responses), natural BFP with acupuncture and reflexology, OPKs, BBTs, vitamins, oligo-minerals and homeopathy grains. DD born in early 20http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1170078332

* Gini (42, highest FSH 16.1) - ttc 11 months, natural conception, herbal supplements, drank lots of water, and wasn't "trying hard" because RE was going to start cycling me on the next cycle, baby DD born April 2005

* LisaMN (40, highest FSH 42)-Low dose/natural IVF with Dr. Check. 2nd high FSH baby - DS#1 born August 2002. ttc#2 12+ months, 1 m/c, DS#2 born June 2005

* GayleCA (39, 40.11, 43.7); Highest FSH 16 - 4 failed IUIs (natural & medicated), 4 failed IVFs (2 BFN, 1 m/c at 7 weeks, 1 chemical), then BFP with natural IUI (trigger, P4, Medrol support), DD born 3/10/04; when DD was 6 months old, did 2 natural IUIs - BFN; then IVF (lupron flare)- BFP, DS born 9/06/05; when DS about 7 months did IVF for #3 (cycle #6?) m/c at 8 weeks (chromosome abnormality that had nothing to do w/age), tried for 1 yr to make it to ER but poor lining and response, HSG, then laproscopy 7 or 8/07, IVF #7 (changed protocol to microdose flare)- BFP (currently 18 weeks w/chromosomally normal boy), EDD 5/25/08(updated 12/21/07).

* Bing (46, FSH?) - natural conception after several years of IF treatments, baby Olivia born 9/7http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1126590171

* TinaPhoenix (42.10, highest FSH: ~28 (CD3) and 75 on a non-ovulatory cycle) - ttc 1.5 yrs; natural BDing after a cancelled cycle with high-stims (= "Long Lupron" cycle with 6 vials of Bravelle + Repronex per day); baby born Sep 2005

* Ellie (41.5 with FSH 11) Natural conception after two miscarriages six months apart. Delivered baby boy 9/26/05.

* HOPE2 in PA (43.6, FSH 38) TTC about 3 years. One m/c @ 41. Natural cycle w/ minimum Gonal-F & Cetrotide AFTER LIT IN MEXICO. FSH on the succesful cycle was 18. Had 4 minimum stim IVFs. Never had more than 1 egg. But my embryos were high quality, and 1st IVF actually ended with positive beta but it was chemical. Had baby September of 2005 when I was 44 years and 2 months old.

* Fran (42 or 43?) - very frequent poster who became pregnant in December 2004 and as far as we know gave birth in about Sept 2005, perhaps someone can confirm this?

* Becca (42.5, highest fsh 33) ttc#1 for 4 years. Had 1 prior m/c. Used Fertility blend, Wheatgrass supplements, accupuncture. High dose stims plus femara resulted in 2 follies. Did IUI instead of IVF. Hcg trigger prior to IUIs and then 1/2 dose of Hcg 7dpo. Baby girl born Oct. 2005

* CH41 (41, FSH 107) - natural conception with ovulation monitor despite very sporadic cyclhttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/message/1138756210/http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/message/1109313649/

* Anna (41.5, but with 40 year old eggs - FET) - ttc 4 years: IVF due to severe MF (4 amps Follistim + Antagon; IVIG, LIT and Lovenox for suspected immune issues); unmedicated FET on a natural cycle; DS born Feb 2006

* k3333 (41, FSH?) - 3 failed IUI cyles with folistim, next cycle no drugs but got pregnant naturally!!! Accupuncture (3 months), Evening Primrose, Warm liquids and food, Limited exposure to radiation (no hair dryer). DS born Feb 2006

* Paige (42.2, highest FSH 28.6) Natural cycle after many clomid, IUI, IVF, high stim and low stim cycles over 4.5 long years; DD born April 2004

* Victoria (41, highest FSH 10.5) - IVF#3, ttc#1 5 yrs, 1 m/c, baby Rowan born 6/18/06

* london girl (44, highest FSH 13) - 2nd IVF pregnancy (DS born 2003), used a longish protocol with cetrotide / ICSI / PGD (the works), Baby boy born 7/11/06 (a week after 45th birthday!) [Also, had DS at 42 (conceived through IVF aged 41 + ICSI + PGD on third attempt)]

* Marcia (41, FSH 19) TTC For secondary IF with fsh DX it was under 2 years. Natural, Baby born July 2006.

* Annabelle (42, FSH: Mid 30s (had been elevated since first checked at age 31 when it was 15)). TTC: 11 yrs Method of successful conception : natural Failed countless IUIs w/ and w/o stims (maybe 15 or 20?); 8 ivfs (although 2 got cancelled); also failed DE IVF cycles (3rd time worked--had child at 39). After my baby was born, no longer pursued ART but was about to have a DE FET!! Baby born 2006

* Nobobear (40, FSH 18.6) - conceived in my Birthday Month FSH 17.6 TTC 12 months Method of successful conception Natural, DS born 6/3/06

* Donna FL (41.10, FSH: 15.6) ttc #1 3.5 years , natural conception, baby born 25 Jan 2006, 4 total m/c, 1 failed IUI, 1 IVF (m/c), tested + MTHFR & mild ANA. Aspirin, 4mg folic acid, B6, B12, Zinc, L-Arginine, Vit A, C, & E: Diet: 85% organic, green tea, no processed sugar, no dairy, no caffein. > 3 months AF = 1 day longer & better flow. DH same vitamins + Selenium, pycnogenol, L Carnitine: Prayed, found peace, signed up for adoption seminar same week BFP.

* Nat (41 & 43 FSH babies, highest FSH?) BFP on IVF#1, one embie, via Frozen sperm for 8yrs, passing of my husband , the battle with IVF. #2 was born a day after my late husband's birthday, Baby boy Aug 2006 [Also, DS at 41 on third ivf attempt.]

* June (42, FSH 12.8) - #2 (boy), all natural conception, healthy baby August 2006

* Pam (41, FSH 17.5) - donor IUI#1 BFP. ttc#1. Jada Lynn born 8/13/06

* Ann-FL (40.9, highest FSH 18.9) - two med cycles with IUI (failed), one Donor egg cycle (failed), preg. naturally month following donor egg failure. Baby Sienna born 8/15/06

* Susan in OR (42, highest FSH 23) - natural pg after ttc 2 yrs w/ acu, herbs, P4 & folic acid support (prev m/c x 2). Baby Alanna born 8/21/06

* anon22 (43, 19.7) - ttc 15 months or so; 1 failed IUI; 2 failed IVFs; natural conception month following a failed IVF--Pre-Seed! perhaps drugs/hormones from previous month played a part---1st pregnancy; Baby girl Aug 14, 2006.

* fertilebunny (40.11, FSH 16 at age 38) - timed BD (only once) using OPK, acu 6 months, Chinese herbs 2 months, making DH stop hot-tubbing for 3 months. Little Lucy born Sept 2006. [Twin 3 year old DS's from 2nd IVF conceived at age 38.8.]

* Chris in CT (40.11, highest FSH 15.9) BFP from natural BD + P4 after 8 yrs ttc#1, 3 polyps removed Dec 05, 8 years ttc#1 incl. many many failed clomid, maximum injectible cycles, 3 low stim injectible cycles. Baby Jenna Rose born 11/2/06. Full BFP stohttp://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1142357791

* Ann T. (40, highest FSH 12.9) BFP on natural cycle P4 support after 'O' (ttc#2 3.5 yrs, 7 losses), baby Amelia Lynn born 11/20http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1164679812

* Iowa Transplant (41, FSH 13) natural cycle after ttc#2 almost 2 years, EDD 11/24/06, baby girl born!

* Meg41 (40.10, FSH in 30s) E2 patch and antagon shots, then switched to lupron with high dose FSH (Follistim) and LH (Menopur). Cycle cancelled after many days of stims due to poor response, 1 follicle. PG after BD, Alexander, 11/29/06, 6:48pm.

* Velvet (41, highest FSH 12) TTC#1 for 5 years, 6 failed clomid, 6 failed IUI's, 3 failed injectable, 2 failed IVF's, 4 m/c's, on lovenox for 2 clotting factors, lucky IVF#3, baby girl, 11/29/06, 7:02pm

* Lois (40.11, highest FSH 43) natural with yoga and acu, cancer survivor, 2 m/c at age 39, baby boy born 12/21http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1166803672/

* Jan/Ruger1225 (41, FSH 31.4) natural BFP with acu, Chinese herbs, wheatgrass, Royal jelly, Coenzyme Q-10, zinc, EPO and L-Arginine. Delivered 12/26/06 via c-section, girl 9lbs 201/2 inches, currently waiting for ppaf.

* Meghan96 (40.10, highest Day 3 FSH 27) Natural BFP on a break cycle. Acu for six months, herbs for one month, fertility monitor. Four prior IUIs (BFN). Failed CCCT (CD3 FSH 7, CD10 33). Baby boy born in January 2007.

* Bisco (43.6; highest FSH 39.6; this cycle 11.4) 2nd over 40 high FSH baby! BFP after standard Check cycle (1 vial Repronex on CD10, triggered CD11, P4 and E2 support), betas 11 (11-12dpo), 60 (13-14dpo), 786 on 18 dpo, normal CVS, baby boy arrived 1/24http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1170128721

* Renata (40.8, highest FSH 17.8) BFP in natural cycle the month before going on to IVF. OPK and well-timed BDing. Immune issues, so doing IVIG, arixtra, baby aspirin. While TTC, acupuncture, herbs, fish oils, extra b-complex, extra vit. c, CoQ10, wheatgrass, prenatal, grape seed extract, raspberry leaf tea. Amnio all clear, baby girl Talia Jade born 1/31/07

* Heather (40.7, highest FSH of 24) IVF BFP (4th stim cycle), Griffin Martin born on 6 Feb 07

* Xhazzie (40.1, FSH 21.8)-IVF AH, boy/girl twins Scarlett & Tristan born by C-sec. Feb 9th, 2007

* Willa (41.0, highest FSH 15.9) Natural cycle 7th BFP (6 previous m/c), Talia Theodora born 2/13http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1172466659/

* DeeInNC(Now in WA)(40, highest FSH 13) BFP in natural cycle! Jan 2007 Michael Junihttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1180036163/

* Toni (41.11, highest FSH 110! Day 3 FSH's 34.9, 34.8, 2.8, 4.8, 11.7 & 10.7)-DS 2yo, 2 m/cs, Both pregnancies: natural with acu and herhttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/message/1169529700/ plus a DS conceived naturally at 40; Baby Caelin born 5/1/07

* jeannette (40.5, highest FSH 15) - conceived on IVF#2, 2 clomid IUI's, 3 natural IUI's (1 pg; 1 m/c). IVF protocol: BCP's, MDL, follistim, menopur, acupuncture. 9 eggs retrieved. 4 good embies. Transferred 3, 1 on ice. Induced 5/24/07

* KateB (40, FSH?) - natural conception (one other baby conceived at age 38 after the 1% speech), May 2http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1180374976/Baby+Owen+is+Home

* Tara21 (42.1, highest fsh 16.4)Low stim IVF cycle with frozen sperm, assisted hatching and ICSI. 6th ER. 2 prior m/cs. Did CVS and chromosomally normal female. Baby girl born 5/27/07 at 36wks.

* JanineUK (41, highest FSH 22) - IVF#3, 1 natural conception resulted in M/C last January. Severe male factor, Georgina May born 5/28/07

* Yof (44.5, highest FSH 16) - ttc#1 6 months, 3 failed cycles of Clomid w/timed BD. Accupuncture, Chinese herbs. Mini IVF #1 50mg Clomid cd4-8, 2 eggs, ICSI, 2-day transfer of 2 embies, 4-cell, grade B. One stuck! EDD 10/15/07, boy

* groll (41.4, FSH 13.6) - ttc#2 3+ years, IVF w/ Bravelle, femera, dexamathasone (sp?), DHEA, baby asprin; 3 mature eggs, 2 fert, and they looked good. 3dt EDD 10.2.07 - boy

* PJ (40, highest FSH 35), high FSH DS conceived naturally at 38 after 5yrs ttc#1, ttc#2 10 months, Mini IVF#2 (Zhang), 14 days of bcp's, day 3 fsh of 17, Clomid on CD3 & 5 only, 1 follie at retrieval. Successful transfer of 1 4-cell, grade A embryo. BFP! 2nd miracle high fsh baby, Emma, 10/17/07

* JMC (41.2, FSH over 15), IVF#3 triplet conception, now twihttp://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1179956027/ http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1178134593/http://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1176134946/ (IVF#1 B/G twins at age 36, IVF#2 + FET BFN) OCT 07-Nicholas Alexander & Natalie Catherine.

* Elizabeth (42.0, FSH 16 at highest) ttc#3 years, 6 IUIs, 4 IVFs (1 cancelled, 1 all embryos arrested, 1 with 3 poor eggs transferred/BFN), 1 pregnancy at 35, 1 M/C at 42.0 (natural conception). 4th IVF BFP with excellent egg quality, TRIPLETS on board initially. Leuprolide, Follistim, Repronex, Heparin, baby aspirin, also took Alive! antioxidant + megavitamin for 2 months prior to IVF cycle at doctor's request. No exercise, special diet or acu. Little Molly born 11/10/07 @ 25w6d, doing well so fhttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1195083754/http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1195424894/http://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1195670469/(last updated 11/28/07)

* Seabiscuit (39.6 & 42.9, highest FSH 19.6)High FSH baby #1 from IVF #4 born 10/04. High FSH baby #2 from IVF #9 born 02/08.History & protocohttp://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1198342245/(last updated 02/25/08).

* LeighTX (41.4, FSH 15.5) ttc#2 1.5 yrs (high FSH DD conceived at 39 from IVF#3), 1 m/c, natural BFP with progesterone support to treat Embryo Toxic Factor, Baby Girl, 1/28/08

* Kiwichick (42.3, highest FSH 19.6) - 2 failed IUIs, 5 failed med/high stim IVFs, 1 failed low stim IVF, 4 chem pgs, 1 m/c (4/5 natural conceptions), ttc#2 2.4 yrs (first high FSH baby conceived at 38.7 from Clomid/IUI), acu, Chinese herbs, DHEA, CoQ10, fish oil, Vit E + Se, zinc. IVF/ICSI#7 (low stim, this time with Dexamethasone for whole cycle); 4 embies replaced (high/low stim embie picshttp://www.network54.com/Forum/53068/thread/1181864169/), twin girls, Ema and Mariko, born 2/12/08 @37w1d. Pihttp://www.network54.com/Forum/264844/thread/1203749982/

* Mana (42, highest FSH 13, male factor) - "natural" BFP with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, OPKs, preseed, supplements, P4 support, etc., DD born 12/07

*Divineart (42, highest FSH 15.5) - TTC for 9 months naturally BFN, started cycle of 50 mg of clomid day 5-9 and robittusin, progesterone suppositories 13dpo. I can't believe it a BFP. EDD 3/22/08

* Allston (40.8, highest FSH 27) TTC for 3 years, but gave up when doctor said ovaries were shriveled and no developing follicles. Got pregnant naturally (totally shocked). Healthy baby boy born 6/18/08. No exercise, special diet, or acu. I drank coffee and wine. Just got lucky!

* PhoebeMass (41.1, only FSH test at 15.8) - 4 IUIs, 1 BFP that ended in a m/c at 7 weeks. BFP on first IVF. MDL protocol. 6 eggs retrieved, 4 fertilized, 3 transferred. 17wks4d with a singleton - Isabel 09/19/08, deliver at age 41.10.

*LouLou (42.4 FSH 12)-Added progsterone 2x a day per Dr.Check. Did natural monitoring had 9 follies the cycle I became pg. Had 2 other successful pg's at 38 and 40 but DS was stillborn 10/06. A m/c at 41.9. DD (Arielle) born 0n 11/14/2008.

* Peanut (41.10, highest FSH 59, FSH this cycle was 16) - TTC #2 for 2.5 yrs, 3 IUI, natural pregnancy Dec '06 m/c at 5.5 weeks, then started with Dr. Check - 3 IVFs all BFN then natural cycles with estinyl/femtrace FSH suppression & progesterone support - finally BFP!! DS Sean born January '09! (at 42.5 years young).

* Annie from Finland (47 y, highest measured FSH over three years ago 37), conceived naturally, no IVF, IUI nor fertility treatments. Laser acupuncture, wheatgrass, lot of exercise, healthy food, good spirit. I turned 47 on the 30 th Dec 08 and my darling baby girl was born on the 3 rd Jan 09

* double L (45.0, fsh 5-14), TTC #1 2 years. IUI's & IVF's. Acupuncture, herbs, qigong, wheatgrass, energy work. Ectopic pregnancy 8/07. 11 ET's with Dr. Check. Minimal stims, single-embryo transfer. Sweet, healthy DD born 4/10/09.

* Andrea (43, FSH 24), ttc #2 3.5 years, DD age 5, natural BFP 3/05 but m/c at 5 weeks, IUI 4/06 BFN, IVF#1 6/06 BFN, natural BFP 11/06 m/c at 10 weeks, natural BFP 9/07 m/c at 8 weeks (chromosomal), 3 IUI's neg from 11/07 to 1/08, BFP on low stim antagonist IUI 2/08 but m/c at 9w5d; BFP with low stim antagonist IUI in 7/08, DS born 3/09

Friday, May 29, 2009

9dp3dt - still blank

Tested again this morning just to make sure, and still very much a BFN. Not even a hint of a ghost line or shadow. Always so very disappointing. Well, I have my travel plans in place for next cycle so at least it feels like I am moving forward.

Strange thing is, the symptoms are exactly the same as the times I was briefly pregnant. I still have the crampy, heaviness down low in the pelvic area, still have the sore breasts, although they are getting less sore by the day. Still with the pink spotting too, it must be an irritated cervix. Because of the weekend, the beta won't be until Monday.

DP was saying how he wished we knew what happened to the embie. His thoughts:

Did it fizzle out and stop growing?

Was it genetically abnormal?

Did it land in a bad spot?

Did it fall out? Ok, there is the analogy of embie in the uterus being like a grain of sand in a peanut butter sandwich, that the embie isn't going to "fall out". But embies can and do wander around in there, or else how would ectopics occur. If they can wander into the tubes, why couldn't they wander into the cervix?

Did the AH damage the embie? It is an invasive procedure on the embryo, and there is always the possibility of human error. The photos of the embie are always before they are hatched, so we never see them after the AH is done.

Did it even get into the uterus? Could it be stuck in the catheter? We know they check the catheter after the transfer, but how is that done? Do they flush it and look under the microscope at the flushed contents to make sure it isn't there? What if it is still stuck to the wall of the catheter? Now I have to admit, that one has never crossed my mind before.

Of course we will never know exactly what happened. Sometimes it works, alot of the time it doesn't, and we can't do much more after a transfer other than take it easy and hope for the best.
 
 
 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

8dp3dt

HPTs are still showing convincing BFNs. According the sticks, there isn't a molecule of hCG left in my body! I'm officially declaring this cycle over. Given that the First Response pee-sticks has a sensitivity of as low as 6.3mIU/mL, I just don't see how I can get to a decent, healthy, non-chemical beta level in less than 2 days, which is my usual beta day. I've had enough cycles where the sticks have looked like this at this stage to know the drill.

Can't say I am surprised. I would be even more surprised if this one had worked, as that would have made it two IVFs in a row (each with just a single embie) with implantation. Now those would have been crazy odds! Of course, it didn't stop me from hoping that somehow it would work, that my turn may come again.

But as nice as it may be to wait in hope, there is another practical aspect that I can no longer ignore, and that is to start getting my travel plans for the next cycle in order. I am seeing that my usual flight has just gone up $100 from yesterday, so I need to stop waiting around to see what happens and get some things booked.

One good thing about medicated cycles, is that it is very predictable when AF will come once the progesterone has been stopped, and that helps immensely in travel planning. There are still cysts and other unexpected things that could stop a cycle from proceeding, so I try and get refundable tickets. And these are more reasonably priced the earlier that you book.

Actually I haven't totally given up hope, I have just moved the focus of the hope on to the next cycle. I still seem to be making great looking embies, so hopefully one of those will eventually be a healthy one.

One of the biggest things I have learned along the way, and what has kept me going for so many cycles, is to not get too vested in any one cycle. Pinning ALL your hopes on any one particular cycle is very hard emotionally. I look at it as a process, which for me happens to involve many cycles to reach the goal. That is how I cope with the failures. Plus, seeing other success stories after long infertility journeys are always very inspiring.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

7dp3dt

First Response has spoken, and the word is negative. BFN. Both this morning and just now this evening.

Yes it is super early, certainly not out of the game by any stretch of the imagination. But I have had positives appear on this day twice before so it is still a bit of a bummer.

Next POAS attempt tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

6dp3dt

So picture this. In the bathroom this morning I notice what looked like pink spotting on the panty liner. I immediately rip out the liner from my undies and run to DP to show him the spotting. I don't know which is scarier, me running out of the bathroom with soiled panty liner in hand to show DP, or the fact that he knew exactly what this could mean.

Could this be the fabled implantation spotting?

I have never, ever had implantation spotting, even when I have had implantation.

Of course, it could just be irritation to the cervix from the progesterone suppositories. With the massive doses I am on, I wouldn't be surprised if everything down there was completely engorged with blood and very sensitive. But that theory isn't nearly as fun to ponder.

On the symptoms front, still crampy, and now ravenously hungry. I seem to be eating all the time! Boobs are only slightly sore.

Did the baseline HPT today. The trigger line is super light, lighter than it usually is at this time. It is one of those where you can see a shadow of a line but you want to turn the stick this way and that for a better view. I don't think it will come up in a photo very well. Looking forward to the official POAS testing starting tomorrow!

Monday, May 25, 2009

5dp3dt

Back at home now!

Traveled all day yesterday and I was crampy the whole way. There is just no way to get really comfy in an airline seat on a full plane. I did good with my carry-ons though, I have a great little computer bag with wheels that fits under the seat in front, so I didn't have to lift anything heavy into the overhead bins.

Last year, the first time I travelled after transfer I had a backpack as a carry-on... big mistake! I had to run from the two furthest gates possible in Atlanta airport, about 20 minutes dodging in and around all the pedestrian traffic trying to make my connecting flight (which I ended up missing), sweating up a storm and freaking out that all that running with the heavy backback wasn't good for a free floating embie in the uterus. Although in the end it didn't prevent implantation, it wasn't an experience I was keen to repeat.

So nice to be able to sleep in my own bed for the first time in 2 weeks! With the help of all that progesterone I slept great. Still crampy today, but not as much as yesterday.

Oh, and the weirdest thing is that I actually lost weight while in NJ for the cycle. Quite a few pounds too, and I certainly wasn't trying. I have always gained weight with stims, but maybe because it was super low stims I didn't get all bloated this time. Still quite puzzled by that one, but there you go.

POAS Strategy

DP and I went to Target to pick up our supply of First Response HPTs, plus a couple of digitals that I like to use as tie-breakers if the lines on the sticks are iffy. Target has the best price in our area for First Response, they are significantly cheaper than the other places so it is worth a special trip there.

I like to start the HPTs at 6dp3dt so I have a baseline reading. The trigger is still there for me at that point, but what it does in the subsequent days after that is where it can get interesting.

In the past, 7dp3dt has been a cross-over day for me. The HPT in the morning is lighter than the day before, but a HPT in the evening on a positive cycle has either been darker or has come up more quickly. So while the trigger is still fading, the hCG in my body starts increasing. On my bfp cycles I have never had the HPTs go completely blank along the way. Which is actually kind of frustrating. I would rather be a fast metabolizer of the hCG trigger, get some blank pee-sticks, and then start getting a line. That would make it alot clearer!

So, baseline POAS is set for tomorrow.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

3dp3dt

I've been taking it easy in the hotel since the transfer. Yesterday I had some sharp, pinching sensations down around my uterus, I wasn't sure what that was about so I immediately stopped what I was doing to lay down for a while. Also had some mild cramping since the transfer, which I think has been fairly typical of past transfers. Again, laying down seems to help with that too.

I went in for an ultrasound and blood work this morning. The lining was 9mm and HH, which is apparently the pattern that is most receptive to implantation. The last two cycles I never got the TL pattern that nearly everyone seems to get before retrieval, but I somehow end up with the HH when it matters.

E2 was 206, and progesterone was 86.

I'm not on any estradiol supplementation, I think the level is ok since I only had the one follicle at retrieval. I'm on heaps of progesterone though: 400mg suppositories twice a day, plus 200mg oral Prometrium. A total of 1000mg per day!

Progesterone makes me drowsy, for me it is a calming hormone (especially at the doses that Cooper has me on). I have not had even the slightest symptom of anxiety or panic since starting the progesterone. I don't even feel the need to carry the Xanax around with me everywhere I go any more, I am so relaxed.

All in all, I'm in pretty good spirits despite being stuck in NJ a little longer than expected due to flights filling up early for the holiday weekend. I'll be flying back home tomorrow.

I just did a count and this was transfer #14. So although the process itself is fairly routine by now, we're still very excited and feel lucky to have an embie on board, that thrill never lessens!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Transfer

Yesterday we had the embryo transfer. DP had flown home the day before, so I took a taxi to the clinic. Because of the valium they give for transfer, they don't allow patients to drive themselves that day.

They require a full bladder for the transfer as it involves an abdominal ultrasound. It is always a bit tricky trying to judge when to start drinking water, and how much. I started drinking about 45 minutes before the transfer because liquids tend to go through me fast, and although my bladder wasn't full by the time of my appointment, the doctor was running a little late so it worked out well. By the time we were ready to get going, my bladder was comfortably full. I say comfortably, because of the valium... I was so relaxed it was almost zen like, despite a bladder that was getting fuller by the minute!

We ended up with an 8 cell embie, that had less than 10% fragmentation. Such a thrill to have even made it this far with just one follicle, it has been quite the ride already!

The actual transfer went very smoothly and quickly. I felt the speculum go in and then they push down the ultrasound probe over the full bladder, which is a little alarming at first but the bladder held its contents just fine. The whole thing was over in less than a minute. I had to ask if it was done, as I didn't feel the catheter go in at all! Other times I have felt a small pinch, but never any worse than a pap smear.

I lay there in the darkened room for about 30 minutes after the transfer. This time I didn't need a bed pan, my bladder was full but not painfully so. I actually fell asleep!

I've lost count of all the transfers we have had, and there have been several 8 cellers in the past but still no baby, so we still need lots of luck. My age is the biggest obstacle, I'll be 44 soon, and normal embryos are a harder to come by. Harder, but not impossible.

We are super excited to finally be in a 2ww again, just to have a chance, however small it may be. It has been 10 long months since the last one and I miss all the craziness of the waiting!

I will be stuck here in NJ for a while longer, as I didn't plan ahead for the Memorial Day weekend travel crush and can't get a reasonably priced flight home until Sunday. Which is ok, as 3dp3dt falls on Saturday, and Cooper likes to do an ultrasound and bloodwork that day and I'll be here for that.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The fertilization call

I spent some time trying to research the odds of fertilization with ICSI. It seems about 70% is a common figure given, so if I had 10 eggs then around 7 of those could be expected to fertilize. But with just 1 egg, the reality is that it is either 0% or 100%, and it is pretty darn scary waiting for that phone call knowing that the cycle can end right here.

Of course, the call came later in the morning than I anticipated, but when it finally came we were so relieved with the good news. The egg had fertilized!

So I can hold off buying a return ticket back home for now, I'll be staying in NJ a little longer.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Retrieval today

DP flew in without incident late last night, but even after a full day of traveling he didn't sleep much through the night. Didn't affect his part on retrieval day though.

We arrived at the clinic early, and I had a scan. Follicle was still there. It had grown to 23mm, up from 19.5 on trigger day. Lining was back up to 11mm.

We filled out all the consent forms, paid for anesthesia, and went over the instructions for the next few days until transfer. I then got changed into the gown and booties and had an IV started in the back of my hand. I got to talk with the anesthesiologist, the embryologist and the doctor before starting. I've done this many times before, and I never get tired of the next bit... when they start the meds for anesthesia through the IV. Wow, that feels pretty darn good! All the stresses of the cycle just melt away completely at that point! Unfortunately that feeling is all too short and I am asleep quickly.

Next thing I knew I was waking in the recovery area. I was still very groggy when they told me, but they got the egg!

Now for the next huge hurdle, and very nerve wracking one with only the 1 egg... the fertilization call tomorrow morning. We are doing ICSI, so that should help, but I have found that fertilization is one of the most unpredictable steps in the whole process.

Friday, May 15, 2009

CD11 - triggering tonight!

My one growing follie measured 19.6mm today, and estradiol was 319. Good enough for me! So a final Ganirelix today, 150iu of stims tonight, then the hcg trigger. IVF retrieval will be Sunday.

DP will be flying in tomorrow night. Just our luck, the weather forecast is predicting strong thunderstorms in the area tomorrow night. Last time DP flew in there were strong thunderstorms and his flight ended up diverting to Harrisburg! Then he had to get a bus in to Philly and then a taxi to the hotel, and arrived at about 3am. Luckily we had an extra day before retrieval so he had time to rest a bit. We don't have the extra time this cycle because I reached trigger day earlier than expected. We had booked the ticket before I realized that this was going to be a particularly fast cycle.

I'm a bit nervous about just the one follicle for retrieval. In the past when I have had 2 mature follicles, frequently only one of them would yield an egg. The other one either didn't have an egg or the egg was stuck to the follicle wall despite repeated flushing during the procedure, which I have been told tends to be the sign of a bad egg.

DP isn't at all concerned about coming up empty-handed at retrieval. He says "Nah, it'll be fine". Typical male confidence, I guess! I'm pushing it to the back of my mind for now, and focusing on looking forward to seeing DP again tomorrow. But I'm sure I'll be nervous again on retrieval day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CD9 - looks like just the one follie

Today the biggest follicle jumped from 10 to 15mm in two days. The rest are under 6, so not in contention. What is amazing is that this is my fastest cycle ever ( out of oh, about 14 or so stim cycles) and it is the lowest dose! Only 75 IU per day so far.

My FSH has dropped to 10, and Estradiol is up to 184. I'll be increasing the stims to 150 IU, and have already taken my first Ganirelix today. I was wondering if they would have me take the Ganirelix because the other follies are too far behind and there is really only one in the running, but I guess we still need to hold off the LH surge until the trigger.

Lining is 11mm.

And yes, I will still go to retrieval with just the one follie.

Monday, May 11, 2009

CD7 - relaxing in NJ

I flew up over the weekend as fares seem to be much cheaper than during the week for the airports that I use. I am happy to say that I didn't have a panic attack en route, but I did take 1/2 a Xanax tablet just to make sure that any underlying anxiety didn't have a chance to bubble up into something bigger.

I am much more relaxed about the cycle now that I am here, and hopefully I got here early enough so that I won't get dinged for the out of town patient management fee. The costs for the labs are significantly cheaper here too, so the total expense of being here isn't as bad as it would initially seem.

Today's scan showed 3 small follicles, 10mm and two more less than 6mm. From my past cycles, the smaller ones could go either way at this point, they could start catching up or could stall out it is too early to call.

Lining was 9mm.

The blood results today were encouraging, at least things were moving in the right direction:
FSH - 13 ( down from 16)
E2 - 100 (up from 49, I'm excited it is going up!)
LH - 3
Prog - 1.2

I am going to continue with just 75IU of Bravelle each night.

My understanding is that since my natural FSH is still kind of high, that is enough to naturally grow the follicle(s) and the Bravelle will give a small boost. This is the whole idea of a low stim cycle. My progress up to now is about the same as when I am on a high stim cycle, I am a poor responder no matter what, so I am happy to save on the meds!

Back for another look on Wednesday!

Friday, May 8, 2009

CD4 and up goes the FSH

Ah well, at least I had two good days of basking in the glow of a reasonable FSH number. Back to reality today, as I have found out that my FSH has jumped from 7 to 16 in only two days.

At least the E2 hasn't dropped, like it did the last time my FSH spiked. It is cruising along at 49. Which is alot better than the "less than 10" rut I was recently in.

And 3 little antrals have come out to play this month.

I am still trying to get the hang of this out of town monitoring thing. I tried a different lab today for the blood draw, thinking it may possibly be quicker. Big mistake! It is tough enough with the 3 hour time difference to get the results to the East Coast before they all leave for the day. But if any little thing goes wrong, then it is over for the day as there is so little wiggle room.

Today for instance, I get a call from Cooper saying that they hadn't received the blood results for the day, and that I should follow up with the place I had my labs done. Sigh... time for the results run around again.

After numerous phone calls trying to get a hold of somebody that might be able to help, I figure out that the local lab had faxed my results to the wrong number, despite having the correct fax number printed and circled on the lab slip. Once I figured out what had happened, and had my own results in hand to give to Cooper personally, it was too late in the day in NJ.

This is why out of town monitoring drives me nuts! It is still so early in the cycle that it really doesn't matter in the whole scheme of things whether my results get to the clinic today or tomorrow, but it is so darn annoying and time-consuming having to follow up with every fax and lab result.

So I am packing up and getting my butt over to NJ this weekend. Air fares are cheap right now, cheaper than some ultrasounds I have had. And it is so much less stressful when you take the whole remote monitoring thing out of the picture.

I am fortunate in that I don't need to take any time off work for travel as I am able to telecommute . So that's one less thing to worry about. I actually get alot more work done during these stints away from home as there are fewer distractions.

But, for someone recently diagnosed with panic disorder, a cross-country trip could be very interesting indeed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

CD2 - Here we go again!

I'll been doing the first few monitoring appointments at the local clinic before flying over to the East Coast if things look promising. The last few cycles have been anything but promising. I had a FSH that hit 30 with a E2 that stayed below 10 for two weeks, then the following cycle I was benched with either a cyst or a super early follicle depending on who you ask.

As usual, my results arrived at the NJ clinic just before everyone was about to leave for the day. The time difference makes it tough to do remote monitoring, but I am now of the mindset that if they get the results the same day, that's a bonus.

The early days don't really matter all that much, especially if you are slow starter out of the gate like I usually am. For me it doesn't make much difference whether I start stims on CD2, 3 or 4. So I try not to stress too much about whether or not the fax with my results made it in time for a same day callback.

You could have knocked me down with a feather when I heard the results:
FSH - 7
Estradiol - 39
LH - 1.6
Prog- 0.6

Wow! The first thought I had was are these even my results? Was there a mixup?

My cycles have been so messed up and whacky for months on end now, pretty much since my bowel obstruction 6 months ago. They have actually been getting worse, there has not been any gradual improvement or anything. So it was really quite a shock to suddenly get somewhat decent numbers out of the blue!

I will be doing another low stim cycle. I will take Bravelle 75IU tonight and tomorrow, and will get an ultrasound and more bloods drawn on Friday.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Protocols I have Tried

Some common questions on the message boards include “what protocol is best?” and “has anyone had success using {insert any random protocol or drug here}?”

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. If there were, we’d all be doing the same protocol.

Over the years, I have seen just about every protocol you can think of work for somebody along the way. And there are others who swear that the same protocol shut them down or caused them to have their worst cycle ever.

For example, you’ll see a lot of posts about how terrible clomid is for us over 40 high FSH ladies. But there are also success cases with clomid and IVF, so clearly it isn’t bad for everyone.

We all respond so differently, and even the same person doing the exact same protocol can have very different results from cycle to cycle!

You can’t really tell in advance what will work best for you, it seems you pretty much just have to jump in feet first, try a protocol and see how you go. Then you can tweak or change from there, depending on how your body does.

The only one that isn’t really common for us high FSH folks over 40 is the Long Lupron Protocol, since it is way too suppressing for poor responders. Note that the Long Lupron protocol should not be confused with the Lupron Flare or Microdose Lupron Protocol, which are common options for poor responders.

The things that tend to be common with the older high FSH crowd doing IVF are the “extras”, ICSI and AH.

ICSI is where the embryologist selects a good-looking sperm and injects it directly into the egg to fertilize it.

Nearly everyone on the boards who is over 40 with high FSH does ICSI. Most of us get so few eggs, we need all the help we can get. The fertilization rates with ICSI are generally higher.

However, there are some studies which say that although the fertilization rate is lower when the sperm are left to fertilize the egg on their own, the live birth rate is higher than with ICSI. If you get a lot of eggs, you might want to talk with your RE about the pros and cons of doing ICSI vs without ICSI.

Since I have so few eggs retrieved (sometimes there is just one), I don’t want to take the chance of not having any fertilize so we have always done ICSI.

Assisted Hatching (AH) seems to be a slam dunk for anyone over 40. Just before transfer, the embryologist will make a small hole in the zona (outer shell of the embryo) to enable the embryo to hatch from its shell. Apparently, the zona pellucida can be harder in older women, so AH is often used.

If you do AH, you will probably be prescribed antibiotics and a steroid (e.g. Medrol) to take before and after the transfer.

I started out in 2006 doing an Antagonist protocol with a short stint (around 2 weeks) of BCPs, which is a fairly standard choice if you have diminished ovarian reserve. I did high stims (600IU) and did poorly. We only got 1 egg at retrieval, and although it fertilized, it was a very fragmented 5 cell embryo at transfer. BFN.

Next, we tried the MDL (Microdose Lupron) protocol, with 10 units of lupron twice a day starting 2 days before stims. We went with high stims again, and did better than on Antagonist with 3 eggs retrieved, we went 3 for 3 for fertilization and had 3 great quality embryos transferred. I think they were all 7 and 8 cells. BFN.

Somewhat encouraged by the better result on MDL, we decided to stick with it for a while (a long while, as it turned out). One time I even had 6 eggs retrieved, but only 1 to transfer that cycle.

After more failures, we experimented with various lower doses of stims while doing the MDL. Still couldn't get any consistent results. If anything, things seemed to be getting worse. Which is sort of expected as I was getting older too.

When we reached the point of getting just 1 embryo most of the time, I started asking about natural IVF. I mean, what's the point of going through the crazy expense of all the injectables when I would get one follicle on my own anyway?

We switched to clomid with a low dose of injectables and an antagonist. We got 2 embryos!

Another try with the same protocol, and back down to one embryo again.

At this point I had done 12 transfers I think. I scheduled a consult with Dr Check at the Cooper clinic in NJ. He does not do phone consults any more so I had to fly in for the appointment. I had put that off for quite a while as it is not exactly convenient to fly across country for a consult, but I was glad I did it.

I timed my consult to be at the beginning of my cycle in July 2008, and I ended up staying there to do my IVF. This was my first time doing a low stim protocol. I was only doing 75IU for the first several days! How could this little amount do anything at all, when my ovaries barely acknowledged 600IU?

They kept drawing my blood every few days and would adjust the dosage according to how I was responding. By the time I reached trigger, I was doing 225IU. They retrieved 2 eggs, both fertilized but one was multinucleated so it was discarded. We transferred 1 embryo, an 8 cell that was free from any fragmentation. Low stim seemed a pretty good idea by now, and a heck of a lot more affordable too.

We did get a BFP, with great initial betas (141 at 14 dpo, then 424 two days later). But unfortunately we lost the heartbeat at 8 weeks. It turned out to be trisomy 8.

I have tried in recent months to cycle and do the low stim thing again. In February, my E2 didn’t rise and my FSH skyrocketed so they put me on estinyl, but my E2 remained under 10 even at CD14. I had to pull the plug on that cycle as I was in NJ and didn’t want to keep paying for a hotel when the cycle clearly wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry.

Then the following month I had a great FSH but my E2 was in the hundreds. It was either a cyst or a super early follicle; either way I wasn’t going to NJ that month.

So now I am waiting for AF so I can see what surprise the next CD2 blood results will bring.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Choosing a Fertility Clinic and Doctor

Probably half the battle is choosing the right clinic and doctor to work with. Pick the wrong clinic, and chances are you won't even get to cycle. The truth is, if you have high FSH and are over 40 years old, many doctors will flat out refuse to work with you and direct you straight to donor egg. It has happened to all of us at some point, it is called the "donor egg speech" on the message boards.

While it is true that the odds with donor egg are much better and is likely the fastest way to a baby in your arms (although still not a guarantee, which some doctors fail to mention), if you want to continue to try with your own eggs there are still options. You just need to do your homework and know where to look.

Time is of the essence here. Don't waste time with OB/GYNs, go straight to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist). Check out the list of FSH-friendly doctors on PJ's site, see if there is one in your area. Probably the majority of fertility clinics in the US are not open to treating older patients with high FSH, so this list is very useful in narrowing down candidates.

If your FSH is extremely high, like over 100, and you still want to give it a shot with your own eggs, make an appointment with Dr. Jerome Check at the Cooper IVF Clinic in New Jersey. Don’t even bother with anywhere else. He has experience with success even at these extreme levels and has published articles about it.

Message boards are a great way to help locate a FSH-friendly RE and clinic in your area. The Women Over 40 With High FSH board is a very good resource. You could post a question with the title “Looking for a FSH friendly RE in the South Jersey Area” or wherever you may be, and you will get some good tips.

Some Questions to Ask

On the first appointment with the doctor, you should be prepared with a list of questions. If you are doing IVF, it is especially important to get certain information up front. Even if IVF isn’t on your immediate radar, it may be in the future so it is still worthwhile to ask. Some ideas:

Is there a minimum number of follicles you require before going to retrieval?

Some clinics will say they will let you try IVF with high FSH, but fail to mention that they will cancel you if you don’t have a minimum number of mature sized follicles. You don't want to get caught out half-way through a cycle, vested financially and emotionally, only to find out that you don't meet some arbitrary minimum requirement (which is often out of reach of us poor responders) and then get cancelled.

There are clinics out there that let the patient decide whether or not they want to proceed with fewer follicles. If you typically only get a few follicles then waiting for another cycle isn't going to give better results. The clinics I have been to have let me go to retrieval with 1 follicle. You only need one good egg!

Is there a FSH cut-off, or any other criteria for proceeding with a cycle?

Again, you don't want to be all ready to go and then be cancelled due to the clinic's FSH cut-off that you didn't know about. Or any other cutoff for that matter. Many clinics don't even test FSH each cycle, so it isn't a hard and fast rule. Other clinics do test FSH but if it is high, may put you on estinyl to bring it down a bit, but they won't cancel the cycle on FSH value alone. Shop around if you need to.

Have you had success with patients that have similar stats as me? What protocols did you use in those patients?

This will give you some idea if the clinic is used to handling cases such as yours, or if they only take the "easy" cases. It also starts the discussion about protocols, so you can begin to understand what to expect in terms of treatment.

Does the clinic do cycles in “batches”? i.e. do they only do retrievals and transfers at certain times, like 2 weeks out of every other month some other odd schedule?

Some places put their patients on BCPs (birth control pills) in order to sync up with the clinic’s schedule. It’s one thing if the BCPs are part of the protocol, but it’s another thing entirely if the BCPs are used to delay the cycle purely to suit the clinic’s schedule for retrieval. This has the potential to waste valuable time. Not quite so bad if you are under 40, it is more of an issue for the over 40s.

There is also the potential problem of being over-suppressed by the BCPs. If you are a particularly poor responder like me, you may want to consider avoiding any sort of suppression at all.

Most clinics do procedures year round, with the exception of perhaps a few weeks of the year e.g. around the Christmas/New Year period.


Out of Town Monitoring

If there isn't a FSH-friendly doctor near you, all is not lost. This is one field where it is fairly common for patients to travel for treatment. It is possible to be a patient of a clinic in another state (or even another country). I am actually doing this now.

Even though I have good clinics near where I live, I find the cost of IVF too expensive in my area. I am an out-of-town patient and I travel to another state for treatment. Even with the cost of flights, hotel and car, it is still way cheaper than cycling in my own area. I know it sounds crazy, and when I first started this journey I never imagined I would do such a thing, but here I am.

Several fertility clinics offer the option of being an out-of-town patient. What happens is you get your ultrasounds and bloodwork done locally, and have the results faxed into the clinic where you are cycling at. Then, when it gets closer to retrieval, you would travel to the clinic and stay there for retrieval and transfer, and then fly back home.

I have to admit though, it is a pretty stressful way to cycle. I am on the West Coast and my clinic is on the East Coast, so there is also the time difference to factor in. So I get my ultrasound and blood drawn (must be STAT - same day results) in the morning, have the results faxed later that day. Hopefully the clinic on the East Coast gets the results before they all leave for the day, and they will phone me with instructions for the meds to take in the evening. All too often though, faxes get lost, or sent to the wrong place, or not sent at all. As I said, it can be very stressful and you really have to be on top of everything to make it work, but it can be done.

I’ll be starting another cycle this week and you can follow along to see how the out of town monitoring works.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Over 40 and High FSH: The Story So Far

With so many infertility blogs out there, you may be wondering what’s so different about this one. You might be thinking, “oh, is she new at this?” or “what has she tried so far?” or even “has she been successful?”

The answers are “no’, “a lot”, and “not yet”.

If you are thinking “what the heck is high FSH?” then you should probably check out PJ's site first. It also gives a good explanation on the main protocols used and a listing of doctors that have been found to be the most helpful for this condition.

I am 43 years old with high FSH, and have been trying to conceive (TTC) for many years My partner just turned 45. I guess you could say we are veterans by now.

My highest day 3 level is 18 (back when I was a youngster at 40 years old), but a recent day 5 clocked in at 30. I am a poor responder to fertility meds.

I don’t get oodles of follicles, even on the highest doses of meds. So you won’t be seeing posts about lots of follicles/eggs/embryos. My antral count is often zero at baseline. I typically have only 1 embryo at transfer.

I will never be able to get pregnant naturally, due to tubal issues. IVF is the only way. That alone is a bit of a lonely club, even amongst the infertility community.

I have been an active participant on the message boards over the years, and have picked up a lot of tips and useful information along the way. Some was learned by trial and error through direct experience, but another big part is learning from others' experiences that are shared on the boards. I have no medical training, but consider myself an informed patient; questioning and researching as much as I can along the way.

If you are over 40 and have been diagnosed with high FSH and are looking for a good support board, the Women Over 40 with High FSH is excellent. If you are under 40 with high FSH, check out the sister board New High FSH Support Forum.


My Medical History.

2003 – exploratory laparotomy. This led to extensive pelvic scarring in the years that followed.
2005 – FSH tested at 18 on CD3. HSG showed a hydrosalpinx on the left tube.
2006 – Hydrosalpinx clipped (couldn’t be removed safely because of the extensive scar tissue). The other tube had extensive scarring too, and was not functional. A subsequent HSG showed a possible mild hydrosalpinx on the right, but was inconclusive because of the scarring and adhesions.
2008 – small bowel obstruction due to adhesions.


IVF History

2006:
IVF#1 - Antagonist - 1 egg, 1 embryo, BFN
IVF#2 – MDL* - 3 eggs, 3 embryos, BFN
IVF#3 - MDL - 2 eggs, 1 embryo, BFN
IVF#4 - MDL - 6 eggs, 1 embryo, BFN
IVF#5 - MDL - 2 eggs, 1 embryo, BFN
2007:
IVF#6 - MDL - 3 eggs, 2 embryos, BFN
IVF#7 - MDL - 3 eggs, 3 embryos, BFN
IVF#8 - cancelled after 16 days of stims
IVF#9 - MDL - 2 eggs, 1 embryo, BFN
IVF#10- MDL - 1 egg, 1 embryo. BFP! m/c at 7w, trisomy 22.
2008:
IVF#11- MDL - 1 egg, 1 embryo, BFN
IVF#12- clomid/antagonist - 3 eggs, 2 mature, 2 embryos, BFN
IVF#13- clomid/antagonist - 1 egg, 1 embryo, BFN.
IVF#14- Antagonist low stim at Cooper, 2 eggs, 1 embryo. BFP! m/c at 8w after seeing h/b. Trisomy 8.

*MDL stands for Microdose Lupron, or Flare protocol.

We have tried various dosages of stims along the way, from high stims (600IU), medium (225-350), and now down to low stims (75-150). Doesn’t seem to make much difference, except to my wallet.

Yes, it is pretty bleak. In fact, single digit percent odds are probably generous given all the failures. I did switch to the Cooper clinic for my last IVF, encouraged by their successes with low stim on “difficult” patients. Their costs are very reasonable, and it is actually cheaper for me to fly in from the West Coast to cycle there than it does to cycle at the local clinics. And I did get a short lived BFP out of it, which was somewhat encouraging. So I would like to try again with them.

I can’t stress enough that I do get that my odds are horrible, and I get that to many people it looks insane that we want to keep trying. But I am not like many people, this is my journey and this is what I need to do in order to be able to look back in 10 years and have no regrets. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned.

For various reasons that I won’t go into here, we will not be moving on to other options for building a family. We are working on the process of accepting being childfree, since it is increasingly likely that is what the future holds for us.