In Australia, Medicare covers quite a lot of the expense of IVF. Well, it used to anyway. It covers a lot less now. One of the rules for cover is that you can’t have consecutive cycles so you have to have a month off in between. I think you well and truly need that break anyway, or you’d go mental with all the hormones. There is a bit of a come down period after being on a cycle, and when you think about it, every failed cycle is like suffering a miscarriage, because for all intents and purposes, you are actually pregnant. They are inserting a fertilised egg back into your body – the problem is, it doesn’t always stick.
I wish I had started writing as it was happening. It’s hard to recall emotions. I do remember feeling pissed off that I had to go through it all again. I didn’t cry. I didn’t feel anything really. Almost apathetic to the result. I remember being in the IVF surgical ward after one of the procedures, listening to a woman sobbing. It could have been for a number of reasons. No viable eggs would be the most likely, I guess, but every woman’s IVF experience is different. They have many different ways of treating each individual case. In my case, despite often being told I look years younger than my age, apparently my eggs haven’t been looking after themselves. While I’ve been taking care of my skin, drinking water, exercising and getting lots of sleep, my ovaries have been drinking, smoking and staying out til dawn. And now, they’re just too shagged to get fertilised!
We decided to go into battle again.This time, Dr Baby-Maker wanted to try a different approach. A different drug (don’t ask..I retain nothing) and a process called Ixie (or trixie, pixie….) where they inject the sperm directly into the egg. This can help when eggs are too shagged to get fertilised… It’s the equivalent of the woman just lying there and staring at the ceiling while her partner does all the work. It can also help if the sperm are just as lazy.
This cycle was a shorter process than the first. Thankfully. The new drug made me feel awful with headaches. Almost everyone complains of bad sinus symptoms while on IVF too. I did make things a bit easier for myself by realising I didn’t need to go all the way into the city for my tests every 2nd day. There was a clinic just up the road. This was not only great in terms of saving time and parking money, but I actually got to talk to other women. The first day I needed a test, the bloods nurse had not shown up so we all had to go to a different clinic to have the blood drawn. This was time consuming, but we all sat in the tiny waiting room relaying our stories. One woman was down from country Queensland because it’s the closest clinic she can go to. The extra expense involved in that is mind-boggling. Another was preparing to have a frozen egg implanted so she could have her 2nd child. Yet another had lost a baby very close to the end of her pregnancy due to medical complications and was going through her 7th round of IVF. They were all very knowledgeable about the whole process. They even knew the names of the drugs they were on. I was impressed and made a mental note to myself to read the pamphlets I had been given.
By the time you get to egg extraction day, you have a fair idea of how things have been going. Having scans every 2nd day tells you how many follicles there are and how big they are. As we got closer to the day, my doctor rang me to give some sobering news. The drugs really hadn’t worked so there were only 2 follicles of decent size. I could go ahead with the collection and see what we got or abandon the cycle. I was still clinging to my “quality over quantity” theory so decided to go ahead. They managed to extract 5 eggs ( I was very proud) but none of them made it past the first 24hours. Nothing to fertilise. Nothing to implant.