We saw the RE this morning. I realize that I need to make up a nickname for him, as "RE" is woefully uninspired. I think I'll call him Dr. Chat. Why, you ask? Because at the end of EVERY consult we've had with him, he shakes our hand and says, "Good chat, good chat." It's really very funny, and always sticks with me. So, there it is, Dr. Chat.
Anyway, we went to Dr. Chat this morning to have 2 burning questions answered:
1) WHY didn't any of the 3 freakin fantastic embryos stick?
2) Should we do another cycle with my eggs or move right on to donor eggs?
I told Kevin before we got there that Dr. Chat wasn't going to give us an enlightening answer to either of those questions. The first one is just how it goes, I guess. As for the second question, there's no way he'd agree to make a decision like that FOR us. But Kevin wanted to hear what Dr. Chat had to say on both topics regardless.
As expected, his answer to the first question was pretty much, "I don't know. You clearly have egg production issues, so most likely there was a genetic abnormality." Exactly the answer I expected. He did give my dusty ol' ovaries some props for producing increasing numbers of eggs with each cycle, but reminded me -- twice, I think -- that I am 38. Thanks.
His answer to the second question inspired about 30 minutes of detailed discussion. His official answer was, "If you had the emotional capital and financial resources to do more cycles with your own eggs, then I would say go for it. But if you don't, then donor eggs are a great option for you." We assured him that we had the emotional capital for another cycle -- despite the fact I was actively crying in his office. It's the finances that are the stumbling block.
We discussed the possibility of using donated meds since they are $5K of the $15K price tag for 1 cycle with my eggs. This idea is hit-or-miss because sometimes they have lots of donated meds and sometimes they don't. Plus, seriously, I need 70 vials of Bra.velle (yes, that's SEVENTY), 35 vials of Men.opur, 7 Gani.relix shots, and an Ov.ridel shot. I have estrogen and PIO left over so I won't need them. The probability of someone donating 100+ vials of unused stims is pretty low, so we're not counting too much on the donated meds idea.
So we moved on to the donor egg discussion. There are literally 17 different options for fee payments with donor eggs. Because I am obsessive, I forced him to go through almost all of them to ensure that I understood them correctly. Basically, you can mix and match to make your own Shared Risk program. By this, I mean that you pay 1 price and get 6 fresh cycles. Costs for FETs are included as well.
You can do the Mack Daddy Option (my words, not theirs) that covers ALL costs for 6 cycles -- IVF procedures, donor meds, donor prescreening, donor fee, freezing, FETs, etc. This is all for the low, low price of $52,500. WHAT? Holy shit. Of course if it doesn't work, or you drop out before your last cycle, you get back all $52,500. But seriously, that's an ass-load of cash.
Like I said, there are over a dozen other options including a complicated one that allows you to pay for the IVF procedures, freezing and FETs, but then select which of the 3 other costs you want to "fix" (donor meds, donor prescreening, donor fees). I explained that this one was attractive only because I am so well versed in the meds now -- how much they cost, how much most people need, etc. -- that I wouldn't mind paying out of pocket for those since I think that's a manageable cost.
Here's the part where I remember why I love Dr. Chat. He said, "If you go with that option, I'll help you out. I will commit to paying for 50% of all the donor meds." What? Granted, in reality, they'll just get free meds from the drug companies, or will use donated meds. Also, we're talking about med costs per cycle of maybe $2K so they're coughing up a max of $1K per cycle. But, still. I thought that was a wonderful offer.
After much, much discussion about the program specifics, we talked about the exact process. It would start with us having a social worker visit to discuss the psychological aspects of the donor egg process. Then we'd have to do a practice month of meds for me so that they could perform an endometrial biopsy to ensure that my lining is behaving correctly. Then we'd select a donor, and get the ball rolling. He said that if we got moving right away, we could possibly complete a cycle by December.
DECEMBER? My G-d, that's half a year away. I was crestfallen. And he was talking about this like it was quick. Ugh. To distract myself, I asked about statistics. Again, he provided lots of info.
Given my current situation, he gives us a 20% - 40% chance of having a successful pregnancy with my eggs. He gives us a 60% - 65% chance of successful pregnancy with donor eggs. If you look at the extremes, that's paying $15K for a 20% chance with no hope of any $ back if it doesn't work. However, we could pay $35K or so for a 65% chance with the possibility to get about $30K back.
I very much enjoy going to Las Vegas. But I'm a slots person. And a nickel slots person, at that. I am not the type to truly gamble with tens of thousands of dollars. Not to mention, um, where are we going to get this money? We could liquidate some of our retirement money, or we could rob banks. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, you know.
Geez, another epic post from me... Lemme just get to the point. Since Kevin and I are decision-making type of people, we agreed to make a decision right away. We proceeded directly to Star.bucks and discussed all the options. Here is what we decided. [insert drumroll here]
We're going to try 1 more cycle with my eggs. Then we will move on to donor eggs.
Neither of us can really explain why we want to continue poking my shriveled old ovaries. We just feel like 1 more attempt is in order. I think we just need to feel like we did Everything We Possibly Could Have to make this work with our combined genetic material. I think we were wined and dined with the last IVF cycle when everything went so well. Just like gambling, we seem to think that ONE MORE TRY will surely be the winning ticket. Once again, this reminds me of Larisa's post about being an IVF addict. I fear this is me too.
I have said repeatedly that I am comfortable with using donor eggs. I am. But I was really struggling with that decision over the last 2 weeks, and I'm not sure why. Now that we have made today's decision, I feel at peace again. I sincerely, truly believe that if this last Leah Egg cycle doesn't work, that I will be entirely comfortable embracing the Donor Egg concept.
Of course this means it could easily be well into next year before I manage to finally get pregnant, but . . . Well, there really isn't anything to say after "but." It just is the way it is. In the meantime, I've started fantasizing about a quick trip out to Vegas. To test the waters and see how our luck is shaping up, you know? Perhaps THAT is were we should be having the North American Bloggers get together!