Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

IVF Study - Update

Today warrants an update. I had my initial consultation to be a part of The Ivy Study. Nate and I drove 60 miles (one way) to HRC in Encino, the only fertility center in California participating. After  being subjected to daytime TV and nervously waiting for 45 min., we were called back by Dr. Tourgeman, my would-doctor. Immediately apparent was his warm, welcoming, down-to-earth personality, and even better SART success rate: 50% instead of 17%. With my medical records in hand, and after asking a few questions, he was able to tell us that I meet all of the preliminary requirements. I could not be more excited! I will know for sure after my visit next week, when they will check my antral follicle count. It needs to be 10 or higher, and the few times I've had it counted (for IUI and one IVF) it has been over 15, so I'm fairly confident that I will get in. My ovarian reserves need to also test low enough, and whaddya know? Diminished ovarian reserves are the only fertility-related problem anyone has found! Who knew this would turn into something so positive!?

As for the study, I have zero concerns. I'm just not blinded by the killer deal: $3,500 including anesthesia, medication, surgery center fees and even 1 year of cryopreservation for any extra embryos. I have thoroughly read the consent, and feel comfortable because it comes highly recommended by Nathan's cousins, one of which is a doctor, and both of which are smarter than me. They're also more familiar with clinical trials. They explained that because it is a phase III clinical trial, it is already far along and has already been tested on people. As an official government-sanctioned study, it's no surprise that it comes with a lot of red tape: gaining FDA approval is not easy. Any drugs that are dangerous just never make it even to stage 1, let alone phase II. 

There's a 50% chance I will receive the FDA medication I already took, and a 50% chance I will receive the new one, which is being tested as a generic equivalent. Participation in this study actually helps others by ultimately reducing the cost of the medications once it gains approval. Remember, we paid $4,300 on medications alone last cycle, and could not afford another full-priced round so soon. I like the idea that I'm helping women in the future gain access to something they might not otherwise be able to afford.

The study stipulates that two embryos will be transferred on day three like I did the first time. Waiting until day 5 is not a choice, and neither is transferring three. In the interest of time, it would be tempting to do a frozen embryo transfer (FET) if this transfer doesn't take. But because I'm able to participate up to three times, we have already decided it makes more sense to do the study again, with hopes of "banking" more embabies for future use.

While it took us just over an hour to drive there, it took us 2 hours and 15 min. to get home. Parking was $17.00. When I need to be monitored daily, this is going to add up. Not just financially, but time-wise. I will not be starting the follicle-stimulating hormones until 21 days from my appt. next week, and will be on them for about two weeks before the retrieval and transfer. Unfortunately, this means I will have the bulk of my appointments once I'm back to work. Since they don't open until 8am, and I have to be at work by 7:15am, I'm going to need their latest 4pm appointment. In order to make it there in time, I will need to leave at least by 1:30 and will have horrible traffic on the way home unless I do something to kill time afterwards. But, it is a lot better than needing to travel for reduced-cost IVF: we were previously looking into having it done in the Czech Republic.

Time is more precious than money, and right now time with Mom is at a premium. So it is a very good thing that in one month, right after their 45th anniversary, my Mom and Dad will be moving into our 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath. And get this: it was Nathan's idea! I'm not sure many husbands would welcome their new in-laws with such open arms. Having them here will free all of us up a bit financially, because right now their rent now is even higher than their mortgage, because of where we live (Orange County). More details about the big move in a future blog post. Right now, it's time to wind down for bed.

8 comments:

  1. Megan, aside from the driving, this sounds like a great trial to be a part of and I am so glad it is working out for you to participate. As for your parents moving in, your husband is a saint! What a nice idea and it will be so good to have them with us. Good luck wit the move and with this round of IVF.

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  2. Wow Megan. Stumbled upon your blog by accident. My husband and I were engaged in Jan 2013. My mom was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer with mets in her brain and lungs in August. We were married in September and started exploring IVF immediately (our only fertility option as my husband lost both testes to cancer 5 years ago). Moved in February to live closer to mom. Things were put on hold for a while as I was taking care of my mom full time but she's stabilized a bit and we are doing egg retrieval for IVF cycle 1 on Monday. I want so much for this to succeed... my mom may not be here when I have a baby but just seeing me pregnant will make her so happy. Sound familiar? Good luck with this cycle I'll be praying for you guys!(and your mom)

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    1. Wow...how DID you find my blog? Our stories are so similar that it seems like more than a coincidence! Find me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/megruns

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    2. Found you through an IVF forum I think?! Or randomly through Google? I looked at so much stuff the last few days I don't remember. But yes it's bizzare....I added you on FB :)

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  3. Megan any updates on your clinical trial? I'm hoping participate in the study soon.

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  4. Yes!!! I am gearing up for my trigger shot TONIGHT at 2:15am and retrieval is set for Monday! Only have 6 eggs that are large enough though. I've updated this blog and am also blogging here: http://www.fertilityauthority.com/blog/megan-swanek/2014/8/31/hope-jar

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    1. How did the retrieval go Megan? Fingers crossed for you!!

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