Cheers, dear readers,
Natural Cycle IVF. What is it and what are the advantages? And why choose it as a preferred fertility treatment option for your Path to Pregnancy toolbox?
Cathy here again this week. I am surrounded by my two kittens as I write this, getting some much needed kitten therapy. I swear it works to help you de-stress, if you enjoy animals.
As I mentioned earlier, Eric and I were on a budget when it came to our infertility treatment plan. Natural Cycle In Vitro Fertilization (NC-IVF) is about 20-25% of the total cost of a conventional, hormone-induced IVF cycle. It was also a great option for us since I had a blocked fallopian tube and we had male infertility issues as well. NC-IVF is also known to be less stressful for the couple – due its lower cost, the less invasive nature of it since it is working with your natural cycle, and it also virtually eliminates the possibility of multiple pregnancies (which can be a result of traditional, hormone-induced, ovarian-stimulated IVF). When our fertility doctor – who is one of the top fertility doctors in the United States for NC-IVF – recommended this as our first course for fertility treatment plan, it made total sense to us. We were completely behind the strategy. We forked over the cash needed to proceed, and away we went!
Treatment involves blood work for the woman, as well as the use of ultrasound technology and analysis to determine when the follicle is ready to be harvested from the ovary for that cycle. Again, how SEXY! (not!) There is always SOME stress involved for sure in any fertility treatment. So the stress for us was of course managing our feelings of anxiety, worry and fear that the procedure wouldn’t work, as well as the stress of keeping up with all of the appointments, battling traffic and our work schedules to get there on time. Plus, there is the concern that the doctors and nurses may make the wrong timing call, and “miss” the opportunity to harvest the egg if it ruptures on its own. If that happened in our case, the cycle would be lost, and we would lose a month of time as well as our hard earned money. We would only get a partial refund to potentially pour into the next treatment strategy. Yikes! No pressure!
Eric and I were hopeful of course, but also very “on edge.” We continued doing yoga as often as we could. And I also had the stress (ironically since it was meant to DE-stress) of keeping up with my acupuncture appointments. I was very careful to schedule them around the time of egg retrieval, as well as the impending implantation, as some “Path to Pregnancy” gurus contend that receiving acupuncture during particularly those times can put the odds of success in our favor.
Well, off we went. Each day, getting closer and closer to the all important egg retrieval day. I was scared and nervous, yet trying to stay calm. How do you do that, I wondered? We both took time off of work, and Eric drove me to the appointment, as he would need to drive me home as well, since I would be somewhat sedated and unable to drive. They called our names to come back, and I got dressed in the dressing gown as instructed. This all seemed so weird and surreal. There was a part of me that was angry that we had to go through this just to create a family – which seems a very normal, easy activity for most – yet not for us, unfortunate ones. I tried to stay positive. I kept telling myself that our reproductive body parts and squirmy things just needed a little help, and that’s what the kind doctors were doing.
They gave me my pill to sedate me. Eric smiled at me and held my hand, then they wheeled me into the operation room. I was surrounded by about 4-5 nurses, who were very busy. Then the doctor came in. The procedure did not hurt too much, and the doctor said kind things as he did what he needed to do. I was of course, relieved when it was all over. If I remember correctly, we both had taken a half day off of work, thus we then went in to work later that day. I appreciated the distraction that day.
The next day, we got the call. We held our breath. Then they told us that the egg did NOT fertilize with Eric’s hand-chosen, hand-washed sperm. Eric and I looked at each other, and I burst into tears. He held me for what seemed like forever, and we cried together. It was not a good day.
My best advice for you, readers, is to do your best to try to mentally prepare yourself for potential days like this. And to make sure that you have a supportive environment around you, and a rock solid relationship with your spouse.
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. And I wish you the best on your journey.
This post is also available in: Arabic