It is incredibly hard for me to write some of these posts and not just because of the what they are about. I am not sure if any of you have picked up on this but what I have shared so far only happened in that first week of finding out – that was about 6 weeks ago.
As you can imagine a lot has changed since then but also a lot has not. So many important things happened during that first week and I feel that I need to explain them properly for others to fully understand my story and decisions. However it is unbelievably hard to write them now, looking back, as what I know now and feel has changed or stayed the same or I am no further forward or I have made firm decisions – don’t worry, not THAT decision….not yet anyway. This is what makes it incredibly hard to write ,as I am not sure how to approach the posts – from then or now or a mix of both. Also I have had so many incredible stories shared with me and so many amazing people reach out I want to make sure that everyone understands at least one place that I am at right now. So I will start with a decision I have firmly made.
I have decided that at egg freezing is no longer an option for me.
This in turn rules out New Zealand for a place to help me or have treatment in, as egg freezing is their only option unless I have my own personal sperm to do other options with. As we all know I am painfully single, so this is not the case. Also, as you know, I could wait for a sperm donor on a list however that list is 2-3 years long and my time frame is a year, so the math does not add up. So out with New Zealand.
Obviously this decision has not come lightly however I am just so relieved to have at least one option checked off my list and into the ‘do not want’ pile. Scratch that. More like in the ‘will not do’ pile.
A friend of mine recommended an amazing website ‘Fertility Friends’ and although incredibly overwhelming (I am still using my mantra of step by step and only looking up small things at a time), it has real people, sharing real stories and really is the best place I have been able to find concrete information, that helps all different people from all walks of life, from all different countries around the world to be informed without doctors and too much clinical stuff getting in the way.
However, there is no escaping the dreaded acronyms! My god, those things have become my worst enemy, so much so that I now have a fertility acronym dictionary in my notes on my computer. My god, how life has changed! That page used to be my ‘bars to visit’ list!
Fertility friends has incredible threads dedicated to different things, however the Australasian thread was the most helpful at first. Long story short, it helped me see that most people with infertility issues in Australia and New Zealand basically said ‘Get the hell out’. They have gone to reputable clinics in mostly South Africa, the Chech Republic, Bulgaria, Spain and Greece to seek more options and credible advice, that was more affordable. And by more affordable I mean SERIOUSLY more affordable. One Australian couple had flown to South Africa, had a few treatments/cycles and flown back and that cost them the same as 1 treatment in Australia. For me it was a no brainer….start looking into overseas options.
The same friend who suggested this website, had sent me a few threads and as she is interested in this stuff (I am so thankful for that and for her!), had seen that a few clinics were continually mentioned, down to the person who was best to deal with. I looked up one clinic – Serum in Greece and was amazing by what they could offer. I submitted a questionnaire from their website, attached my doctors notes and within a day I had heard back.
Wow! I was completely blown away by their knowledge, efficiency and professionalism. Most of the knowledge I have now, still comes from those first few emails. As I had asked about egg freezing (among other things but that will come later), I was given great advice.
Serum do not “offer egg freezing here as it’s relatively unproven as few babies have been born from frozen eggs worldwide except from fertile egg donors. Increasing numbers of egg freezing cycles are being run for women wanting to postpone having a family but only a tiny portion of those women have gone on to try getting pregnant with those eggs. The proportion of those women who have extra fertility issues like low AMH is also probably small so it will be difficult for any doctor to give you a robust estimate of what your personal chances to have a baby from 2 cycles for frozen eggs would be. I think it’s unhelpful to start thinking of egg freezing as an insurance because it may be that even with several cycles of freezing, the eggs do not give pregnancy when you come to try with them.”
After this email I obviously did some more research and found out the following things:
1 – Eggs have a high water content so can be susceptible to both damage and destruction as ice crystals within the egg can cause it to fracture when thawing
2 – Thawing of the eggs does not have enough research to support successful pregnancy outcomes and during the thawing process (depending on how your clinic does it – oh yes, there are a few ways! More fun knowledge I had to learn about), there are low thawing survival rates.
Laying it all out on the table this would mean because of my low AMH levels, if I did a round of IVF to extract eggs, I would only at best case scenario, have 6 eggs, in most cases half are viable (due to varying reasons), that’s 3, then they would need to go through the thawing process with maybe, again, at best, 1-2 surviving and then subjecting myself to trying to get pregnant with only a small chance of that working down the track, with no proven research to say it will work. I don’t even want to go down the track of my worst case scenario outcomes or lack there of. Women with non fertility issues would have a much better chance and the statistics are still against them with low pregnancy outcome rates.
That is a lot, and I mean A LOT of money, time, hurt, energy, life wasted and a seemingly endless emotional roller coaster for a crappy not scientifically proven way of preserving fertility, that has not even been a great deal successful in the most fertile of women. Imagine it with the fertility challenged.
I have decided that I am not wanting to waste my life, worrying if it may work, sending myself into crippling debt for a possibility or a maybe or a just not sure. I want something more concrete than that, even of it is just slightly more.
So egg freezing is struck firmly off the list.
Down with one, what will be next?