I thought I had it all figured out.
It took me months to really wrap my head around the IVF and accept the fact that the next large chunk of money was going to be put towards this. Not new floors. Not a vacation. Not to paying off my car.
It took me a couple of weeks to finally decide that I wanted to go for the multi-cycle plan, just in case. I made phone calls about financing. I talked it over with Bryan. A few days ago, I paid off the balance on my credit card so I could use it to pay for the cycles. (Amongst all options, it turns out this was the best one)
I felt better. Not wonderful, but better. Still nervous but mostly ready.
Then Bryan comes home from his appointment with the endocrinologist at the VA.
For those of you who didn’t know, he has been taking HCG shots 3x per week in attempt to stimulate sperm growth from the 0 sperm count he had several months ago. At this point, he’s hovering between 6-9 million. Not enough for natural conception or an IUI, but plenty for an IVF. What we don’t know is if the HCG actually helped produce the sperm, or if it was the result of natural recovery.
First, the endocrinologist apparently asked Bryan if I was pregnant yet. With 6 million sperm? Hardly. He wants to add FSH shots to the mix, supposedly to skyrocket his sperm count to within fertile limits (HAHA, I write WFL to mean within functional limits on my kiddo’s evaluations, but this one makes WFL mean something totally different). Bryan hands me this study when I got home a couple of days ago on the effectiveness of FSH on sperm growth and ability to conceive, claiming the endo told him we could reasonably expect to be pregnant “by April or May”.
He expected me to be excited, but mostly I just felt overwhelmed. I had a plan in place. I was starting the countdown to the start of my next cycle and day one of the process. I would be excited if I KNEW it would work, its never that simple:
- In this study, the median time it took to conceive was 2.3 years. Bryan claims his endo believes that he is at the same place as these men were at the 2 year mark. I am not sure what the basis is for this – except I guess that he has some sperm now.
- This type of treatment is only effective if Bryan was fertile before he started the shots. We don’t know if he was because he never had an SA prior to starting testosterone way back when, and have no way of knowing at this point.
- In this study, only 50% were pregnant at the 10 month point. Maybe it could work but I don’t have the patience for 10+ months anymore. Plus that’s only 50%.
- His hormone levels are currently normal. The RE told us that with hormone levels that are normal, adding more of the same hormone probably won’t make a big difference. However, his levels WERE low before.
- Our issues are not 100% male factor. With PCOS, albeit mild, and a blocked tube, there are my issues to consider also.
- It appears that the best response to sperm production was in the 2nd cycle of treatment. If I read correctly, one cycle = 6 months. So while the endo thinks we are a mere couple months away, statistics seem to show a longer period.
The thing that sticks in my head more than anything is, when Bryan told the endo I wanted to pursue IVF, his response was “that’s stupid”.
I’m glad I wasn’t there, because I would have wanted to poke him in the eye.
Truthfully, I have so far put much more weight on the words of the RE. However, Bryan had a point I couldn’t totally refute: why hadn’t he put me on the metformin earlier, and not just right before we had planned to pursue an IVF? He does get paid to do these procedures. I’m not saying I no longer trust my RE, but it was something to think about.
Now, 2 weeks before we are set to start, I am back to square one. While Bryan has said he will do whatever I want to do (which makes him wonderful but also no help at all), I know he would prefer to give the FSH a couple of months. His endo seems convinced we are a mere few months away from achieving pregnancy on our own. I am skeptical. But it now feels almost financially irresponsible to not give it a shot. Logically, I understand that waiting a couple more months wouldn’t be a big deal. I’m young enough, and plenty of people don’t even start trying till they are over 30. Emotionally, I’m not there. Emotionally, I am still waiting for the IVF.
I keep looking for signs or something on what to decide. I remember once feeling confident we would eventually conceive naturally. I keep wondering what if the endo is right? What if my original confidence was really right? I keep thinking about the period of time when I somewhat crazily paid 3 online baby psychics to tell me when I would get pregnant. One of them said April, and said she noticed no issues with Bryan, which to me implies a natural pregnancy. I can’t help but think, if we waited, could that be true? I found myself dreaming of vacations and new floors again.
I don’t want to fail to mention that I paid two others (yes, I know, don’t say it) who both predicted this past July, and were obviously both wrong.
Seriously? I’m partially basing a life decision on a woman to whom I paid $12 to make a prediction based on a picture because it might be some sort of sign??
Just institutionalize me now.
Sometimes I think waiting it out a bit longer isn’t a big deal. But then I see a baby or someones pictures of their newborn and then it feels like much longer. On the other hand, when we discussed IVF at Christmas, the start of the process felt like an eternity away, and the time flew.
Sigh. I think I’ll go for a run now.
February 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm
His doctor sounds like a total jerk. He is seeing one piece of a very complex puzzle. Even if your husband’s sperm were perfect, a host of other issues are at play: PCOS, a blocked tube, and possibly, the always elusive “unexplained infertility.” On average, it takes a typical, fertile couple five months to conceive. How could he even begin to predict that you’d be pregnant in a couple of months? I know I don’t get a vote in your marriage :), but if I did, I would say proceed with IVF knowing that this good sperm news might just increase your chances of a successful cycle.
February 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm
I thought the comment was jerk-ish as well. Bryan wants to give it a few months, and I understand the logic behind it. The money is a huge factor though, especially for us with no insurance benefits. I’m just not sure what to do.
February 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm
I tend to agree with Beth. If it was only your husband’s sperm count that was the problem, I would definitely say: wait it out another couple of months to see if his sperm count increases further and you manage to get pregnant naturally.
Even so, I definitely see the charm in waiting a while longer.
But, as you said: his count is still very low; there’s no guarantee that it will improve further; and there’s your issues to consider as well. All that speaks for going ahead with the IVF as planned.
But those are all “intellectual” reasons: I think that in the end, you should let your gut decide and do whatever you feel most comfortable with.
February 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm
Hubby feels like we should wait it out a few months. I get his point. He left the decision up to me,but I’m not sure I can’t make a decision that’s not emotionally charged.
February 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm
Hi. I just found your blog and haven’t looked around too much yet, so I don’t know the whole story, but it sounds an awful lot like our situation. My husband just started treatments in September, and he went to see a specialist in January who told him we had a good chance of conceiving naturally. Really?? My husband’s current count is still 0, so I have a really hard time believing that. I also was not at that appointment, but it makes me a little crazy when the so-called experts are a little too optimistic. I don’t have any advice to give, but maybe that run will help clear your head and make your decision a little easier. 🙂
February 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm
The run helped, but I’m no closer to deciding. One minute I’ll agree with him on waiting a bit, the next I’ll feel like I don’t want to wait. Ugh.
February 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm
I hate when that happens…but I am leaning towards agreeing with the other ladies. If it were just his sperm count then I would say wait it out for a few months, but with your PCOS and other issues it could just be more time down the drain with nothing to show for it. I know that choosing IVF is not an easy thing to do, but I also know (from reading) that it wasn’t a decision you arrived at easily. So, trust your instincts and maybe get a second opinion from your doctor. I hope you don’t stress yourself out too much. In the end, whatever decision you and your hubby make will be the best decision for you, right now.
February 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm
That was part of my point. His argument is what if the IVF doesn’t work? I said well we could wait, it could not happen on our own, and it could STILL not work It’s such a gamble either way and it drives me insane.
February 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm
Hmm… this is so tough. Part of me says what if you put a time frame on this trying naturally thing… like 3 months, then move on to IVF. But the majority of my heart is saying go right to the IVF as planned. The meds will only help him have the best sample possible for this IVF!
February 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm
Well that’s part of the issue. He won’t get the meds until after we would start the ivf. In my research, I came across a study that showed no change in sperm count with fsh, but a higher pregnancy rate for an ivf in men who took it. That
makes me wonder if we should wait a bit for that reason, if not because we expect it to work naturally ( I still don’t. )
February 13, 2012 at 9:32 pm
Ugh that is so hard when they throw new “options” at you right when you feel comfortable about a certain path. I also feel like the endo is being a little condescending. If it was just male-factor I’d say wait it out, you never know. But he is just basing this on your hubby’s issues right? I mean I totally support either decision that you guys make, I just want YOU to be 100% comfortable with it and not regret either way.
Sorry you have to do this 😦
February 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm
Hey Lady, I am so sorry that you’re going through all of these tough decisions lately. Your points are all valid…
IVF is QUITE expensive. This is true…With these new options that may have hub’s sperm count going up to normal levels with the FSH, it may be helpful to wait for even 2 months to see what happens. As a compromise, could you wait one or two months and do another SA on him to see if the count is even improving after FSH? If, after two months of FSH nothing seems to be moving close to the right direction, then I would say IVF all the way…
But again, I can’t even imagine how tough it is to make these kinds of choices right now, especially when you were geared up mentally for IVF. I support you–whatever you decide!