Five things to consider when undergoing IVF

When venturing down the path of undertaking invitro-fertilisation (IVF), there are only five things to consider. I want to repeat this, to make it clear in all the confusion and noise that you may worry about, there is only five things to consider. These five things remain the same where-ever you go, how many times you go through IVF and when you undergo IVF. Five things! I am not talking about cost here, I am talking about the consistent issues in what makes IVF successful or unsuccessful These five things are:

1. IVF Treatment Protocol

2. The Clinic

3. The Sperm

4. The Eggs

5. The Uterus.

Careful consideration should be given to each of these five items before undertaking an IVF treatment and is vitally important when considering what may have gone wrong should IVF fail.

I have carefully looked into this situation. My protocol has been changed three times. My clinic twice and the sperm twice. My uterus is fine. So for my situation, it is my eggs. I have no problem in producing a good quantity of eggs for collection, so my issue is egg quality. In this recent IVF treatment I was given DHEA and Human Growth Hormone to improve egg quality, embryo quality and implantation. I was also given Prednisolone to keep natural killer cells in the uterus at bay. The implantation quality did not improve. However, the embryo quality did. For the first time I got over a six-cell embryo at day three and I got over a Grade 2. The slight improvement however was not enough. For the amount of money and drugs taken three months prior to treatment, I had hoped to see greater fertilisation numbers, greater cell division and therefore greater embryo numbers.

Improving egg quality is a controversial topic. There is no confirmed studies that any particular medication can improve egg quality. DHEA has been given quite a lot of good publicity, however the studies are still in their infancy. Human Growth Hormone has even less research and support in the medical field for its role in improving egg quality. There has been talks of diet (changed/improved), introducing fish oil (done), COQ10 (done) and  acupuncture (done) improving egg quality – but unfortunately these have not produced any differences in embryo quality in all five of my IVF treatments.

I started undergoing IVF treatment at age 31. I have been pregnant naturally at age 23 and for various personal reasons felt it best to abort this pregnancy at 7 weeks. I had no idea what was ahead of me and I live with this regret every day. I have had hundreds of tests (all returning normal) to ensure that my body has the capability to enable a pregnancy. I am almost at a loss, but I am not a quitter. There is new information that the hormone melatonin has had positive results in improving embryo quality and implantation.

I am not too sure if I will allow myself to undergo another round of IVF. I am not sure that this is the answer for us. I am now 36 years old, the hubster is 46. This seven weeks away from the hubster has been very hard and I am not sure I would want to do this all over again. Many women in my situation are faced with one big decision: donor eggs. I would need to really question my view on this. Perhaps it is adoption – we do not know, yet.

What I do know is that this journey is not quite over. I am looking forward to my WTF (why the fail) meeting with my doctor and discussing these points with him.