Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Vegas, anyone?

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!


Somewhat Ordinary said...

I am not a big gambler either! It is such a huge decision to go the donor conception route and I think it is a wise choice that you do everything possible in order to feel 100% comfortable with your decisions! Wishing you all the best with the Leah Egg Cycle.

Inconceivable said...

Wow, you have a great relationship with Dr Chat and his office staff. I am wishing you well on the Last Leah Egg Cycle. No matter what Dr Chat keeps reminding you, 38 ISN"T OLD DAMMIT. And count me in on the vegas trip- i just watch some new horible reality tv show that went to vegas, then oceans 13 - I wanna go to vegas baby !!

Reproductive Jeans said...

Wow, lots of decisions and ideas/choices. Like Amy said, you have to be 100% comfortable--and then just plow on ahead! Ooo Ill go back to Vegas to "hit it big"=)

LJ said...

Well, I'll tell you this. If I get and stay pregnant via IUI, we can talk about my stash...

Isn't it just irritating how long this all takes?

And though Craps is my only game of note, I love me some vegas. Especially the spas.

Becks said...

When did life get so complicated? Dr Chat sounds great and he genuinely seems invested in helping you have a baby. I do hope the Leah egg cycle works, then maybe some of your luck can rub off on my frazzled ovaries too.

Kate said...

I hope one more cycle is all it takes.

In and Out of Luck said...

Good luck on the Leah Egg Cycle! I know what you mean about gambling. I've never been a gambler because it entails the risk of being a loser, which I REALLY don't like to be; who does? When I gambled, I used to play the $2 tables. No such thing in ART, is there? BTW I tried to e-mail you and it didn't go through. Mine is zumabuild@yahoo.com

Schatzi said...

Sounds like Dr. Chat is fab to go through all of the possible options with you so that you can feel comfortable with your decision. You and dh are at peace... and really... that is all that matters.

Good luck!

Amy said...

I'm so glad you had a good consult. Thanks for sharing all that info and how you reached a decision. It's always helpful to see how others approach things. And you definitely have to be at peace with your decisions.

So here is to a successful Leah Egg Cycle (I'm raising my virtual glass)!

Sticky Bun said...

I'm glad you have such a great relationship with Dr. Chat. (Though I'm sorry about his "38" comments...sheesh!)

It's such a hard decision...all of these are such difficult decisions. Going one more round of Leah Eggs makes a ton of sense to me. I know I would probably do the same--just to know.

Wishing you all the best in the upcoming cycle. Hang in there! We're thinking of you!

Lea Bee said...

i am sending you lots of love and luck.

Bean said...

First, wow -- sounds like you have a great doc! Second, wow -- that's a lot to process. It's great that you were able to sort through it quickly and make a decision. I wish you all the best in your next cycle, and hoping it's your last because it works!

Erin said...

Count me in as Leah Egg Cycle Cheerleader #1!! (I'm not even slightly coordinated, but I've got pep!) I have to start thinking about this soon although I'm totally in denial right now. I don't envy you one bit, and I'm really glad you're taking one more chance on your own eggs.

Dr. Chat sounds like a rockstar. Not in one million years can I imagine my RE offering up some meds.

Thanks for your wild clapping on my blog, I appreciate it!

Carlynn said...

Thank you for dropping by. Good luck with this IVF round. I would have made the same decision, I really really hope it works.

Rebecca said...

You seem at peace and I like that :)

Shelby said...

What a huge decision to have to make! I definitely have a few vials of meno.pur I can donate to you! That is, if I'm actually pregnant. ;)

I'm SO wanting to go back to vegas- love me some slots, roulette and poker.

buggsmommy said...

Leah, I have vials of Bravelle leftover. I was planning on sending them to Hopeful to Hateful, but looks like she won't need them ;) I will send them to you (there aren't 70...) if you'd like them. Otherwise they're going to be dropped off at my Dr's office for someone to use.

Email me: jmdmjones02@yahoo.com


Portia P said...

Thanks for coming to see me over at my site.

I'm so not a gambler and I've always said that it would take a loon to place the sort of money we do on the odds we get.

Thing is, if you win, you win BIG TIME and the losses fade away into insignificance.

I think you've made the right choice. Whilst there's still hope you can't not try. That's how I see it at least.

And one more thing....38 is so not old. Loads of ladies still conceive (via IVF or naturally) into their 40's. If you're old at 38 then so am I and i'm not going there!


Chili said...

Sounds like you have a great doc! Best wishes for your Leah egg cycle!

The Oneliner (Christina) said...

oh too funny. don't try your luck in vegas...b/c everyone loses and it will depress you.
your odds at winning with your eggs and IVF are actually much higher.

freakin' A, why can't we just get knocked up for the price of three beers. (ok, ok, i'm a one beer girl, but you get the point).

Ann said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!

I believe very strongly in going with what your gut tells you. And if your gut tells you that you should do one more cycle with your eggs, then that's the best choice for you! Best of wishes.

Princess Peach said...

Wow...a lot of information to decipher....a big decision that makes perfect sense. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you and wishing you well.

Michelle said...

I don't think it matters if you can intellectualize your decision - as long as it's the one that feels right, then it's the right decision for you, now. I'm a strong believer in trusting your gut. You've got to do what feels right for you.

Changing Expectations said...

Glad to hear that Dr. Chat seems really involved in your case. That is wonderful.

I had no idea that there were that many $ choices with DE at your clinic. I am a three choice kind of girl. Any more than that and I am confused for days.

Good luck to you on this cycle.

Thinking about you.

Kami said...

I am right there with you! I am 38 and have 45 year old eggs apparently. My decision is a bit easier statistically. My RE said 10-15% chance of a live birth with my eggs and 80% chance with DE.

As for money - who needs to retire? I have a friend who is worth more than a million with all his investments and is very concerned about having enough money. He is 50 and never had kids. His money is his security blanket. Yet, he said he would trade it all in to have had a child.

I also understand struggling with the DE decision. It seems so much easier when it is still theory. My logical mind, looks at the stats, shouts, "No Brainer!" and is done. My emotional mind starts down a long and winding path of what if's.

I will keeping an eye on you and am looking forward to catching up on some of you past posts. I have become a blog junkie (as your next post relates) and I find there isn't enough time in the day to keep up. I don't know how Mel does it.

I hope you will be lucky with your own eggs!

grad3 said...

I am going through something similar... our RE just recommended donor eggs to us. We haven't gone through our own IVF though... so much to think about. I wish you luck and I just re-started my blog again... feel free to check it out if you want.

I know that the end of the year sounds so far away right now but that's one of the great things about time... it just keeps moving if you want it to or not. GL :)