Given the recent revelation that I am SO unlikely to be successful with IVF that fertility insurance brokers won’t go near me, I have started investigating gentler approaches to IVF: ‘natural’ and ‘mild’. Now, if the names are anything to go by, they are altogether more appealing than the two rounds that I have already had, which in comparison could only really be named ‘extreme’ and ‘extremer’. My ovaries were blasted with the highest doses of FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinising Hormone) that my clinic was prepared to use, but the results weren’t great.
This potent combination of hormones is administered during the early stages of an IVF cycle in an attempt to stimulate the ovaries to produce more follicles and therefore more eggs. My ‘slightly lower’ AMH level – yes, I’m still smarting over the recent rejection from the ‘baby or money back’ scheme – indicates that I don’t have a particularly high egg count, which shouldn’t necessarily be a barrier to pregnancy in the conventional sense but in IVF terms, is a little bit like investing £100 in Bitcoin and expecting to retire the following month.
At our initial IVF consultation, I was warned that I would be unlikely to produce a high number of good-quality eggs and, well, they weren’t wrong. Round 1 was cancelled before they even collected my paltry (not to be confused with ‘poultry’) eggs. This was after I had spent nearly two weeks injecting my uncooperative body. Round 2 was slightly more promising. 4 eggs were retrieved and 2 fertilised. Both stopped growing on day 3 so we were left with nothing to transfer.
Now I am by no means a medical expert, (and I don’t need to be because we all know we’ve got Mumsnet’s Debbie 04052 for that), but recent advice given to me by an embryologist at a clinic practising natural IVF really resonated. If you don’t have many eggs in the first place, blasting them with high doses of hormones probably isn’t going to help. For example, if you have three follicles on day 1 of your cycle then it’s unlikely you will get more than three good quality follicles to develop, no matter how many hormones you pump into your body. I was also told that high doses of FSH can damage sensitive eggs. None of which was egg-cellent news. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Food for thought, though. So long as the food isn’t scrambled egg. I think I’ve been put off for life.