Updated: Mar 27, 2020
We’ve finally had the go ahead!
So I recently had the booked HSG scan and early signs showed there was in fact no hydrosalpinx (woohoo). We had our follow up appointment at the fertility clinic on Tuesday 5th November and it was good news. They said my tubes are clear (after telling me they were blocked from endometriosis following laparoscopic surgery) and I don’t have an hydrosalpinx. We can therefore continue with our funded cycle of ICSI on the NHS.
I could have cried there and then I felt so elated and I did when we got in the car. Finally some good news after all the back and forth. But it brings with it a million different questions!
1. Should we start now given we have a trip to New Zealand booked at the end of December? We discussed this with the consultant and he felt we’d be under too much time pressure and should take it easy. He said it wouldn’t be an easy process and to have a nice holiday, come back feeling relaxed and ready to start afresh. Couldn’t agree more! We worked out my February cycle would be best given the length of our trip so if my period is on time I’ll start medication around 17th February.
2. Given Tom’s recent health issues, is it worth him giving a fresh sperm sample on transfer day? No. Put simply, Tom’s health has suffered significantly recently and would take his little fellas a while to get back up to standard. We’ll be using a frozen sample that he gave in 2012 after his testicular cancer as it’s looking healthier than his more recent samples the clinic has collected.
3. How does the medication work and are there any side affects to be aware of?
So I’ll be on a few weeks of injections to down regulate my cycle, effectively bringing on early menopause. Then I’ll be put on a stimulating injector drug to help me produce my follicles / eggs. I’ve been warned about side affects - tiredness, mood swings, aches, pains (tell a stage 4 endo sufferer something new!) and then the more serious symptoms that might have me hospitalised. I’m guessing they have to tell me that so I’m aware of everything. Lots to think about.
4. What happens if there are no eggs to be collected?
That all depends on if they have worked out the medication correctly for my cycle. If they have then it’s game over for our NHS cycle and just put into the ‘infertile’ category. If they messed up we might be able to try again, fully funded.
5. What happens if we have more than 1 good embryo to transfer?
Our clinic have a multiple embryo policy. Younger than 40 year old women they usually only put back 1 to reduce multiple pregnancies. But it’s completely dependent on embryo quality and many other factors. Our clinic also have a strong policy to wait for the 5 day blastocyst stage before the transfer happens rather than risking a 3 day transfer. They believe a 5 day embryo has shown strong survival signs so more likely to be a successful pregnancy. Again, this depends on the quality of the embryos, if they have 3-4 really good blastocysts, they’ll pop one back and freeze the others. If they only have 2 good 3 day embryos they might just put them both back... entirely dependent on the embryos. I’ve read this paragraph back a few times and it still doesn’t make sense, sorry. You’ll have to pretend it does.
6. Do we just have one funded cycle? In theory, yes. But if we freeze any embryos and our first round doesn’t work, we may be entitled to a second frozen round as part of our funding. This involves them putting back a frozen blastocyst timed to my ovulation.
7. What’s the main difference between IVF and ICSI?
With IVF, they take the eggs and the sperm, pop them in a petri dish and let nature take its course so to speak. With ICSI (as pictured) they take the egg and pick out the best performing sperm and inject it directly into the egg to aid the fertilisation process. A little more advanced.
There were so many more questions and we did take the handy list with us that we found in our IVF survival guide. Extremely useful and made us feel less rushed.
We’re both really excited. Relieved we get a holiday before we start too to help us relax after the year we’ve had so far. Feeling positive to give it a go in 2020 but trying to remain level headed that there’s still a long way to go.
Any help or advice from ICSI survivors would be gratefully received!