We switched clinics several weeks ago. Not because I didn’t like my last clinic, actually I loved it and tried extremely hard to stay with them, but their policy is to require the 6 month quarantine for sperm from a known donor, also called a directed donor. You can read more about that quarantine here in my post about FDA regulations for directed donors.
Anyway, so I chose our new clinic based on their policy to allow us to use sperm that has only been quarantined for 7 days. Their success rate isn’t quite as good as our first clinic, but it’s still good.
As our new doctor said, there’s a certain amount of “voodoo” that goes into fertility treatments. Sometimes even if there’s no study that shows an absolute improvement in outcomes with a certain addition to the standard protocol, for example taking a baby aspirin everyday, the clinic will still have you do it because it’s part of their protocol. They don’t want to “mess with the voodoo” if it’s not causing any harm.
At the new clinic, there’s several differences in my IVF protocol that I chalk up to “voodoo” but might actually have some clinical benefits. One of them is taking the baby aspirin everyday starting 3 weeks before stim day 1. There’s some evidence that taking a baby aspirin thins the blood and might allow the ovaries and eggs more blood flow and therefore help produce higher quality output. There’s even some evidence that taking it at night is better at preventing heart attacks than taking it in the morning. So I take mine faithfully every night.
Another voodoo is having me and my husband both do a Z-pack antibiotic starting 8 days before stim day 1. I thought they made a mistake by asking my husband to take the antibiotics because we’re using a sperm donor, but they said since we are sexually active with each other they don’t want to chance him getting sick and then infecting me. I guess that makes sense. We start our Z-packs today.
The third voodoo is the brand of stimulation drugs. Not a single one is the same as our previous clinic! I’m a little nervous because this clinic seems to want to use the brand name of everything instead of a generic. For IVF#2 we spent $5,000 on just the meds! And that included a couple generics (leuprolide and cetrotide). We’re supposed to find out tomorrow the cost for 10 days of stim meds. I had pretty good results last time using the generics and the supposedly “less pure” Repronex instead of Menopur. Hopefully this clinic’s brand voodoo will be worth the extra cost.
The last voodoo is the timing of the stim shots. With our first two rounds we did all our shots at the same time in the morning. But this new clinic wants the Follistim and HGH in the mornings and the Menopur at night. This is much less convenient than doing all the shots in the morning and, again, I don’t see the point since we had pretty good results last time, but this is their voodoo so we’ll do it.
IVF #3 Antagonist Protocol with Dual Trigger
Baseline ultrasound and baseline blood work on day before starting stims
Daily stimulation injections:
Menopur 1 powder
HGH 50 units
Start Ganirelix after 1 follicle is greater than 14-15mm
Blood work on stim day 3
Ultrasound and blood work on stim day 6
Ultrasounds on stim days 8-10
Dual trigger (Lupron and HCG), probably on day 10
I have a couple of voodoos myself. I have my regimen of vitamins we take every day, including special B vitamins for our MTHFR mutations. And last time we had such good results, that I’m going to continue with the DHEA 75mg and CoQ10 300 mg. And of course, our grounding sheet which, I swear, really helps me sleep better at night.