First of all, HOW IS IT MID-NOVEMBER ALREADY?! I honestly can’t believe how quickly 2017 is flying by! I believe when I last left off I had mentioned we were exploring the possibility of seeing a new IVF doctor/trying out a new clinic. After some research on clinics, and more specifically doctors, we decided on CReATe Fertility in Toronto. There were a number of factors that went in to our decision but I felt based on reputation, location and real life testimonies from people I know (or are friends and family of people I know), that we would be referred and decide from there. The problem with these big downtown clinics – there are really long wait times. I was told to expect to wait 2-4 weeks before they even call for a consult and expect another 6-8 week wait for the appointment once they did call. Last Friday the admin from the doctor’s office finally called to book a consult (just shy of a 4 week wait) and let me know that they would be booking in to late January. I was expecting this but what I didn’t expect was she would figure out that they had an opening just 5 days later at lunch time. I didn’t even think, I took the appointment because it was SO SOON.
That appointment was yesterday. There is still so much going through my brain but overall our experience was extremely positive. I arrived at the clinic just before my appointment time at 12:30 p.m. with a full bladder for my ultrasound. The place is HUGE like an entire floor but what I like is that everything is done in-house (ultrasounds, bloodwork, follow-ups, procedures, PGS testing, you name it and it’s there!). I got in for my pelvic and internal ultrasounds almost instantly and then waited to meet my new doctor. I was nervous because we had been with the same clinic for so long (and two different doctors in a four-year span) so I had NO idea what to expect. The doctor came out right on time (shocking, right?) and we went to his office for the consult. The one-on-one consult time with the doctor was one FULL hour. I had my list of questions and also my file from our previous clinic so I could just hand it all over. He asked me for a brief run down on what brought me to his office and I explained the last 5 years to him. From there, he listed out all of the issues he could think of in terms of our infertility and went through each scenario one by one with me.
I won’t break them all down but will summarize the main things that stuck out to me. Firstly, based on his preliminary review, he is actually questioning my DOR diagnosis. You see, I told him about being at risk for OHSS with my first egg retrieval/stim cycle in July. The two, apparently, don’t go together. He said it’s very rare for someone with diminished ovarian reserve to overstimulate. We decided that checking my AMH levels again would be a good idea as it’s been 15 months since the last check and I’ve made many lifestyle / supplement changes since then. I guess we will have to wait and see. The next thing we looked at were the anatomic reasons I may not be getting pregnant (abnormal paps, chemical pregnancy, etc.) and decided that I should undergo a hsyteroscopy. I had not heard of this before. A hysteroscopy is when the doctor will go in to my uterus with a little telescope to check out if there are any polyps, fibroids, etc. that maybe need to be removed and he can also take a biopsy at the same time. I will be sedated for this procedure (the same way I was for my egg retrieval) and will be able to leave that day. He doesn’t necessarily think he will find anything but it’s one of those things I’d rather just have ruled it. He then went on to tell me that I have “beautiful ovaries” I laughed out loud because my old ultrasound tech used to always say “wow your ovaries are beautiful” and I never really understood what that meant. Hearing a doctor say it (more than once and even told me I could be an ovary model) made me wonder what bad ovaries look like? I decided NOT to google that. Lastly, we looked at male factor and what role that’s playing. I explained the testicular microlialithis (I don’t even know if I spelled that right) to him and he didn’t seem bothered by it at all. He does want to do another semen analysis as well as a sperm DNA fragmentation test which will measure any DNA damage to the sperm.
After we finished up talking about the issues, he made a plan. Shawn’s supplement regimen won’t change all that much but mine will. I will be adding two new supplements to aid with fertility which are DHEA and PQQ. I will also keep taking my prenatal vitamins, CoQ10 and Vitamin D. So then what’s next? He gave us many options but I think the path I am on right now is another IVF cycle. I will likely wait until my January cycle to start stims again and will do a retrieval in early February. Depending on the results, we may do a second retrieval to bank embryos and, essentially, save costs on PGS testing. Oh yes! PGS testing. This is something we did not opt for previously as it is rather expensive but as this is our last shot we are YOLO’ing the eff out of this final cycle. Basically PGS testing is pre-implantation genetic screening which tests specific chromosomal abnormalities before the embryo is transferred back into my uterus.
So after my FULL hour-long convo (along with a few laughs and a corny joke) with my new doctor I left his feeling SO GOOD. I can tell this doctor is results driven and that is exactly what we are looking for. He also seems to have a great personality which is an added bonus. Just when I thought I could be on my way they suggested I start to get some of the blood work out-of-the-way. What does “some of” entail? Well 28 vials of blood, on an empty stomach, to begin with. Luckily I was saved by a large bottle of apple juice and an immediate visit to the closest Thai restaurant after for some delicious pad thai.
CD1 should be next week and while we won’t be moving forward with a stim cycle quite yet, we have plenty of tests to keep us both busy until that point. I should add that as we already received our governement funded cycle (which we are extremely grateful for), everything going forward will be fully out-of-pocket.
It’s SO refreshing and SO nice to feel excited again even if it means starting all over.