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

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
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.
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.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to comment that my cousin tried for over 10 years to conceive -- roughly from the time she was in
her late 30s. She just gave birth to a baby girl at 49
which everyone thought would be impossible.
She also didnt want to leave any stone unturned, tried
different doctors as some were a fraud etc.
Anyway, good luck!

Post a Comment