Bryan and I had our IVF consult appointment on Friday. Now that the marathon is over, while I’ll still run and do small races until I’m told not to, we/I are changing focus to the second reason I initially started this blog: starting a family.

While the HCG shots seem to have help with sperm reproduction, we still don’t have enough for anything but an IVF. Our RE kept reiterating what good news this was. Sometimes I forget that – that we started with zero and could have ended with zero. It’s hard not to compare us to the “norm”. One thing struck me while sitting in the waiting room. There were at least 10 other people there, and more that walked out while we waited. I felt both sympathetic to and encouraged by the presence of others in my situation. It’s also hard to remember sometimes that we aren’t alone.

First, we met with the RE. He reviewed Bryan’s labs from the VA. He told us that because Bryan’s testosterone and FSH levels were in the normal range, there was a decent chance that his swimmmer issue wasn’t 100% testosterone shot related. The problem is that they give men testosterone but don’t have any reason to test sperm production and so they don’t, meaning that its difficult to tell if the problem is new, or was always there. He basically said that we could wait and see, but our chances that we would be sitting in those two chairs again a year from now with the same result were pretty good.

Bryan asked a few questions, and then the RE delved into the protocol he would have me follow (if  I remember it correctly). The entire process takes about 60 days from start to finish. The first month will be fairly simple – I’ll be taking meformin (a diabetic drug, because people with PCOS tend to have similar insulin issues as a diabetic) to improve egg quality, and be on birth control pills for 3 weeks. During that time I’ll also have to get a hysterosonogram to check my uterine cavity and a mock egg transfer. After the birth control pills come the injections and needles. First, Lupron, which is supposed to delay ovulation (I think), then at some point Follistim, HCG and FSH, the timing of each correlating with my eggs growing and the day of retrieval. During the second month, a million ultrasounds to monitor egg growth. On the day of the retrieval, I’ll be put to sleep for about 30 minutes and sent home for the rest of the day. The eggs will be fertilized and sent to an embryologist who will watch them divide and choose the best ones. If we are lucky, we will have extra to freeze. 1-2 will be chosen from the best, and transfered on day 3 or 5 after retrieval, depending on quality. A blood pregnancy test is scheduled 14 days after retrieval. At some point I get to start shoving progesterone into my lady parts, which sounds just awesome. He gave us a 65% chance.

And to think, some people just need to have s.e.x.

From the RE’s office we met with our nurse coordinator, who basically explained the schedule and told me what blood work I’d need to get done before we could start (which I had known that while we still had Bryan’s insurance).

Then we were off to see the financial lady, who so lovingly brought my head out of the clouds of possiblity by showing me a piece of paper detailing exactly how much this possibility is going to cost.

Apparently it really depends. The cost of the procedure is fixed, and is based on using 6 ultrasounds and blood draws. If your body responds well and you don’t need as many, you’ll have a posititve balance, but if you need more, you’ll owe. Medications aren’t included. Testing before you get started isn’t included. If you have extra embryos to freeze, that isn’t included.  Add it all together, and we are looking at a range of about 15-17k.

There are refund programs. One allows for 3 fresh cycles (as described above) and three frozen (transfering a frozen embryo) and if you don’t take home a baby, you get 70% or so of your money back. If you take home a baby first try, you still owe the grand total. Another is a non refund discount plan, where essentially you pay for 2 fresh and 2 frozen cycles at a discounted rate. If you don’t take home a baby, you’re out the money. If you take home a baby first try, you’re out the extra money. But the cost of the cycles is about 30% less than if you pay for each individually. Neither includes medications (another 2k per cycle).

I left with a headache.

It  makes sense when I think about it though. I think I managed to run through about 10 different emotions in the course of two hours, ranging from excitement to anxiety, hopefulness and worry, trepidation and possibility.

We’re gonna do it. The question is just when (shooting possibly for April), and how? (i.e. do we go with paying per cycle or do we try the multi cycle).