Thirteen More Eggs Frozen

Well looks like the dual trigger shot worked! Thirteen of 14 eggs were good enough quality to be cryopreserved. I used 20 IU Lupron and 4,000 IU hCG for my trigger. I also used 300mg CoQ10 and 75mg of DHEA starting with my birth control pills about 3-4 weeks before starting stims all the way through to retrieval day.

Last time with the agonist protocol (also called the Long Lupron protocol) only 8 of 12 eggs were good enough to be frozen. That time I used 10,000 IU hCG for my trigger. I used 200mg of CoQ10 and no DHEA.

To learn more about the dual trigger shot, see my post about it.

mTESE Surgery Day

7:40am: Well, today is the day! My mom, our designated driver, spent the night last night because we had to leave at 4am to get to the hospital on time. They just took Mr.E back. Dr. Hotaling said the mTESE surgery would be anywhere from 1-3.5 hours. Obviously I want it to be just 1 hour because that means they found sperm right away.

9:30am: Fortunately my egg retrieval is only 1 mile away. I just woke up from the procedure. I’m having a little cramping. They found 14 eggs, still waiting to hear how many were mature.

These crackers and juice they gave me really hit the spot. I was starving! Now I’m just ready to get the heck out of here and get back up to the hospital to check on Mr.E.

10:40am: Dr. Hotaling came out to tell me that Mr.E is in recovery and they didn’t find any sperm during surgery. Now it is up to Dr. Carrell to finish looking in the lab to see if they can find some there.

12:36 pm: Dr. Carrell called with the bad news. No sperm. He said they couldn’t even find any precursor sperm cells. In all his years he’s never seen a case so black and white.

We are so devastated.

Simultaneous mTESE and Egg Retrieval

After my ultrasound on Day 9 I had a quick meeting with Dr. Carrell, the director of the Andrology Lab. He wanted to discuss our backup plan if his team couldn’t find sperm and the timing of both procedures.

We talked about our back up plan first. We don’t really have a backup plan. Most people have donor sperm as a backup plan. I felt like choosing a sperm donor would have distracted my focus from getting Mr.E’s health optimized and on to the donor. I never would have discovered his thyroid problems if I had been thinking about what kind of person our donor is, what he looks like, how to tell the kids about him, etc. I’m glad we don’t have this kind of backup plan.

Our only backup plan is hoping for miracles like stem cell research over the next decade. To make that realistic we are freezing my eggs.

Because our backup plan is freezing eggs, Dr. Carrell’s team is on a deadline. Eggs can’t survive very long after being retrieved. They need to be fertilized or frozen within 6 hours or they start to age and decay. So, Dr. Carrell said that they would look for sperm for 6 hours and then call it quits. He said after 3 hours of searching there’s a 95% chance of not finding sperm. At 6 hours, a 99.8% chance of not finding sperm.

So I asked about doing the mTESE the day before egg retrieval, which is originally what I thought we would do. I assumed there was a way to culture the sperm to keep them alive and healthy. But apparently that’s not really true. He said the sperm will also age and be less viable when it comes time to use them for ICSI and freeze the remaining. Sperm can survive longer than eggs, but why take chances when we can just do the procedures simultaneously? Dr. Carrell said if this was him making the decision for himself, that’s definitely what he would do.

So, that’s what we’re doing. Tomorrow morning, Monday January 20, Mr.E and I will be having our mTESE and egg retrievals at the same time. And probably at 2 different hospitals, which will be interesting since my mom is our only driver. We will definitely have to break my cardinal rule about never leaving anyone at a hospital alone. The moment my procedure is done I will be rushing back to Mr.E’s hospital.

I will keep you all updated tomorrow, even if it’s just one line, to tell you the good or bad news.

IVF #2 – Antagonist Cycle with Dual Trigger Shot

In this post I will discuss the differences between agonist and antagonist IVF protocols. If you would just like information about dual trigger shots, skip down to the bottom.

Because I had mild OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome) with my last egg retrieval (agonist protocol), my IVF clinic wants me to do an antagonist cycle this time. The antagonist cycle should decrease the chance of having OHSS again.

Antagonist vs. Agonist Protocols
What’s the difference between an antagonist and an agonist cycle? From what I understand, it’s all about what drugs are used to prevent ovulation during stimulation and what drug is used for your trigger shot. It has nothing to do with which drugs are used for stimulation.

Continue reading

The Atonement and Infertility

I can hardly believe it, but it’s almost here. Mr.E’s mTESE will probably be 2 weeks from yesterday. Yesterday was my last day of birth control pills. I start my stimulation drugs on Thursday (only 4 days from now!). I will be taking the exact same stimulation drugs as last time, so assuming my follicles will be ready in a similar time frame, I’ll have retrieval 2 weeks from today. Mr.E is scheduled for mTESE the day before.

Over the last couple months I’ve been having more emotional breakdowns :/ At church today, I was thinking about the atonement and how it is supposed to help us with our sorrows and grief. I found this article today that increased my understanding of the atonement.

I was so moved by the writing that I felt compelled to write the author a note:

Thank you so so so much for what you wrote about the Atonement.

My husband has zero sperm and we’ve been waiting for over a year for his mTESE procedure, which is less than 2 weeks from today. Only recently did I realize that a very large part of my incredible sorrow was really about how God viewed me.

I know He is a God of miracles, but I don’t know if I am a person He will bless with a miracle. And I don’t mean worthiness, but just whether or not He will choose me as recipient of this miracle of biological children.

I’m sitting in sacrament meeting right now, and during the Sacrament it occurred to me again that the atonement is supposed to be for our sorrows and griefs, not just our sins. I had the same question you did: but how? I understand the atonement and how it relates to sin and repentance. But how can it help with sorrow and grief not related to sin?

Once before when I thought about this, I decided that Christ and Heavenly Father can’t possibly understand how it feels to be infertile because they aren’t women. They don’t know what it’s like to dream of carrying and bearing children only to have that dream shattered, to feel like the entire purpose of your existence is stripped away. I’m so glad I pondered it again today and found your blog/article. It has really increased my understanding of the atonement.

If I am a person who won’t be blessed with this miracle, I know now that my relationship with Heavenly Father doesn’t have to come to an end. I don’t have to feel betrayed, forgotten or alone. I might feel that way for a little while, I suppose, but I will fight it by taking your advice and coming to Christ.

Thank you again