Monday, March 17, 2014

Cracked Door

Well, God didn’t quite open or close that door for us on Thursday.  Le sigh.  I’m sorry that I didn’t write earlier, but work has been busy.  Plus, we decided to take a weekend off from IVF.  I must admit, it was pretty fantastic!

Basically, Todd’s testosterone levels came back pretty close to normal.  They measured several hormone levels for me, and the report showed below average.  They are recommending we do several retrieval cycles and bank the embryos that are good.  Then, we’ll do a frozen embryo transfer.  Plus, they are recommending we do genetic testing on the embryos.  What does all of this mean, you might ask?

Well, from what I understand, what will happen is that we will stimulate my ovaries like before with all of the shots, retrieve my eggs, and fertilize them.  All of that will be the same.  Then, on day 3 after fertilization, they will biopsy a single cell of each embryo for the genetic testing.  (More on that in a minute.)  For those that are chromosomally normal, they will either do a fresh embryo transfer or freeze them until we are ready for a transfer.  If they have at least 2 or 3 good ones on the first round, we will probably do a fresh transfer and save some time and money.  However, if they don’t get enough on the first cycle, we’ll start again the next month with stimulating, retrieving, fertilizing, “biopsy-ing.”  We will repeat this cycle until we have 2 or 3 good embryos frozen and then schedule a frozen embryo transfer (FET) for the following cycle I can make.

I was asked a lot of good questions from my bestie today, so I’m putting some of those answers here:

Isn’t a fresh transfer better than a frozen?
Some places, fresh transfers are more successful than frozen, and some places, vice versa.  Most places have started getting much better at frozen transfers, though.  Tulsa Fertility Center has success rates that are equal with fresh and frozen transfers.  Therefore, we aren’t too concerned about that part with them.  We are trusting that they are not misleading us on this.

How quickly can we do the retrievals each time?
The retrievals will hopefully be month after month.  I have to have a period between each one.  However, if my cycle falls at a funny time for when TFC does retrievals, I could end up with one in August and the next in October.  Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen.

What is the genetic testing for?
They will be testing for chromosomal abnormalities.  Basically, any abnormality that can be tested for.  Embryos with abnormalities tend to have less of a chance of becoming a viable pregnancy.

Sometimes, they find an abnormality that they have never seen, and they have to use a geneticist to do research to find out what it means.  They have one couple that is on an estimated 6-month wait to see what their abnormality means because it’s so rare.  The geneticist has put it out on boards and forums across the world to figure out if anyone knows what it means.  We could find out things like the embryo “looks” good to an embryologist but has zero percent chance of being a viable pregnancy.  We could find out that the abnormality will be fatal to a born child.  We could find out that the baby would have Downs Syndrome or Turner Syndrome.  Don’t ask me if we would implant those because I haven’t even begun to think about that, yet.  J  I mean the Downs and Turner embryos.  It’s more than I can bare right now to consider purposefully bringing a child into the world that will absolutely, without a doubt be sterile (Turner).  When she told us what it was, I broke down in the office.  I can’t imagine putting my child through what we are going through just so I can have a baby.  Anyway, I have to move on from that thought for now.

There will be a lot of information from the genetic testing.  It could be very helpful, but it does not guarantee success.  There are so many other issues that could still cause the embabies not to stick.  Le sigh.

Also, the genetic testing only has a 1-3% chance of damaging the embryo.  Not bad odds compared to the others we face.

What is the change in cost from this to what we have done?
The cost goes up to approximately $41,700 for 2 retrievals and 1 frozen embryo transfer from what Todd and I have calculated.  This price is assuming we only do 2 retrievals.  The cost goes up because of the multiple retrievals and shots.  Then, FET is more expensive than fresh transfers because they have a freezing and thawing-out process that has to be added to the mix.  Plus, we have Todd’s process, again.  On top of that, genetic testing is $5,000 for each set of embryos they test.  We will bump our savings plan up to $45,000, so we don’t have any surprises we can’t afford, and I can get relaxation therapy without worrying about the cost of it…plus my vitamins.

I only share the financial information because I know there are some ladies out there that are considering doing this, too.  In my opinion, it’s nice to hear all of the details from someone on our side and in Layman’s terms.

Jessah (, if you happen to be reading this, isn’t this what you just did at CCRM?  Can you give me any more insight to things I may not be considering?  I have to admit that I’m pretty scared right now!

If anyone else has any other questions, please, leave them in the comments for me.  I want this blog to be full of as much information as possible.

As always, please, pray for us right now.


  1. Hi Laura. I'm so sorry for the delay. I was on a bit of a blog break as I try to work through the grief I've been feeling. It is what I went through at CCRM. First, I'm a firm believer in the genetic testing because it can give you answers to things that you may not even know are causing some of your problems. However, my understanding from both my experience at CCRM and conversation with the doc in San Diego is that embryos can only be biopsied when they are at the blastocyst stage (usually Day 5). At CCRM, if you do genetic testing, you have to freeze them all at day 5 and wait 2 weeks for the results. So all banking cycles are FET not fresh cycles. In San Diego, they do fresh cycles because they biopsy on Day 5, get the results in 24 hrs and transfer on Day 6. Also, I did want to note that if you're a poor responder to stim meds or have DOR, you may want to wait a month in between your retrievals. My doc at CCRM said there was some research that stated you might get better results by giving your body a break in between. Good luck with your cycle! If I were you, I'd ask your doc about the timing on the testing again because that was our problem. We had to make the banking decision on Day 1 just based on how many eggs fertilized because that is when CCRM freezes them. Good luck with your cycle!!! Happy to help if you have any other questions...just email me. Address is on my blog in top right hand corner (envelope icon).

    1. Jessah,

      I completely understand your break from the blog world. I have definitely been on and off the blogs lately. Somedays are just a little too tough to think about it all.

      I really appreciate your advice and knowledge. As you know, there is so much to learn at each step of this process. Just when I get the process of a fresh IVF transfer without PGS down, we are told we need to try a new process. Aaaagh! I long to have the body of one of those women that get pregnant on their first cycle. But alas, I do not, so I'll be happy with what God gave me, right?! I know, easier said than done.

      I'm definitely going to ask more questions about the timing of the PGS. We haven't decided when we will cycle again because of the cost, but I think we are going to push it out until at least August. Ugh, more waiting!

      I hope you know that I keep you in my prayers. You are an inspiration for me, and I thank you for that.

      Sending you love and prayers,

  2. Laura, I recently had a cycle at CCRM. They have recently (within the last month or two) started a program where you can do three cycles for around $40,000. This does not include medications. It does include three retrievals, one transfer and one round of ccs testing. You freeze all of your fertilized eggs on day one. After the third retrieval the zygotes from all three cycles are grown to blast stage (day 5) and sent for genetic testing. I just wanted to give you the information to help you with your journey. I know this doesn't include all of the other costs such as travel but may change your mind of where you want to cycle due to CCRM ' S success rates.

    1. That's very helpful. Thank you for the information. I'm going to have to add this idea back into the loop.

      I just said a prayer that your cycle was successful. I hope that is the case!

      Thanks, again, for stopping by and offering your knowledge. It's much appreciated!

    2. Good luck to you. I have said a prayer for you too.