Friday, January 7, 2011

Which way do we go? Meeting with the RE

The holidays are thankfully over and I am still in the process of recovering from a severe flu that I came down with Christmas day. Fever long gone but cough seemingly here to stay for a while.

But now that the holidays are over, it's time to begin to sort out options with this baby-making business. To get that rolling, Will and I met with our NYC RE to discuss the fact that this latest miscarriage was a chromosomally normal boy and what that means in terms of next steps.

He is so kind and met with us for nearly an hour, but unfortunately, we didn't leave his office having a sense of what the next step should be.

He said we are "getting closer" to a gestational carrier as a direction to take. But then again at other points in the conversation, he didn't seem to think we were necessarily there yet and said that many people lose a chromosomally normal pregnancy, so it's not really an indication that I can't carry a baby to term. If we had a second chromosomally normal loss (God help me), he said then we would be looking at surrogacy as the next right step. He also said that he felt that having a chromosomally normal embryo or two is great, but does not necessarily make a baby. He reminded me that my embryos were biopsied and frozen and thawed. He reminded me that my embryos didn't all develop on time (the late fertilizers, the day 7 blasts), which he thinks is a harbinger of doom for viability.

And I've started to look into gestational surrogacy, even though I am not happy about the idea. And Oh. My. God. It is so expensive. Breathtakingly expensive. And really expensive before you even know if the baby will really take or not. Like $25,000ish before she'd even be nine weeks pregnant (and I've lost babies past that point. Twice). Ugh!

My doctor also said that many women with histories like mine go on to use an egg donor (in their own body) successfully and that we are getting closer to that path as well. But probably not there yet either, since we have the five chromosomally normal blasts and one no result still waiting for us in Denver. On hearing that, I promptly went and picked two egg donors from two different egg donor agencies. They are both really smart. They both have light skin and very dark hair. Just like me. They are both in their early twenties, which I like. I see them as my ladies in waiting. But of course, the question is, can a pregnancy survive in my body? We don't know. Sigh.

Honestly, at this point, I just want to get out of this reproductive business and take whichever path is fastest to have a child. Still don't know what path that is, unfortunately. I wish it were clearer, so I could choose it.

One commenter after the miscarriage - anonymous, of course - stated that "Isn't it time you see the writing on the wall?" and that since I'd had the best clinic in the country transfer chromosomally normal embryos I should...actually she didn't say what I should do, because the solution is apparently so obvious to everyone but me, it doesn't need to be spelled out. Dear anonymous, I've tried and tried to read the writing on the wall, but I can't make it out. Do I conclude my body can't support a pregnancy? Do I conclude that despite the fact that I can make chromosomally normal embryos there is STILL something wrong with my eggs so that they can't make a baby? I don't know. And my doctors don't know either. And that is what sucks so much.

Both Schoolcraft and our local NYC RE think it is most reasonable for us to try another transfer with my embryos in my body. And while having my own genetic baby in my own body would be my dream come true, my only reaction is Ugh.

Will turned to me in bed recently one night and asked if I would be willing to do another fresh IVF with microarray so we'd have more normals to try with. That would be fresh IVF #8. Nine, if you count the frozen transfer. And I said no. At least for now. Which is a first. I have always felt I could go one more round. Ugh.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Because I can't imagine succeeding. All I can see is more grief. More delays. More pain. With no end in sight.

So what do *I* want? I just want out of this bloody mess. I want to move on to having a baby.

Problem is, I still don't know how to get there.


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  1. I feel like you get to a point where you start to look at your choices in terms of the Level of Suck.

    Would another loss Suck less than using a donor and having a loss? Would using a gestational carrier with your own embryos Suck less than trying again in your own body?

    Et cetera. Unfortunately, as much as science can help us get pregnant, it's got limitations on how much information we can glean from it.

    Really it all boils down to much tolerance you have for Suck, too.

    *sigh* I'm sorry there are no clear answers. I was hoping there would be.


  2. Ugh. Glad you got to talk to them both, sorry there are no clearer answers. I heartily second the above commenter's comments. It really is all about the level of Suck you feel like you can take, and comparing the two.

    As always, give a holler if you want to talk, if you want me to talk DE, or if you just want to go somewhere and drink heavily (ok, so I'll be drinking root beer, but the concept still holds). These are all valid options, as far as I'm concerned.

    Thinking of you and wishing for no Suckage at all...

  3. I like the suck factor explanation. I wish I could fix things for you. My heart breaks for you and I don't even know you.

  4. Mo, we all know our own limits best. Its really easy for the doctors to tell you what the logical progression is, but for us to be able to withstand it is a different proposition.

    I've been through 2 very good looking 2-3 month pregnancies ending in D&Cs. Physically speaking, it was fairly easy to endure but what its done to me on a mental level is bad. And I don't even know what repeat D&Cs are doing to my poor uterus. There is a part of me already mapping out what to do with a 3rd loss (D&C or misoprostol) because I'm afraid of Ashermans. I don't think I can endure more than 3 losses without a drastic change in plans. And if my RE does not like it, then, tough.

    What I'm trying to say is this: don't let your doc dictate terms to you, you dictate terms to them. God knows you have earned that right.

    Its very easy for them to say, well, lets set you up for another high-risk scenario, they are not the ones enduring it!

    The only constraint in this that I can see is the financial and the practical ones, I hope they can be overcome in your case.

  5. Don't you just love those anonymous blogger comments?! Grr, they tick me off.

    I wish I had something profound to say to you. I wish I had the answer myself. I too, am at a loss as to how/where to turn next. Adopt and still try? Ugh. It's confusing and hard on our hearts when our true wish is to 'grow' our own. If you know what I mean.

    I just wish you peace in getting there. This reproductive mess, as you perfectly call it, is that...a freaking mess.

    I wish you to be out of it. Fast. Because it sure is a sucky place to be. Take the time you need for that little voice to tell you when enough is enough. I know...whatever that means.

    Ugh. Hugs to you during this very frustrating time.

  6. I have been thinking about your and Will and checking regularly for an update. Ugh is right. This has been such a long road. Hang in there and know we are all out here supporting you in whatever your next steps are.

  7. Anonymous commenter apparently doesn't realize that CCS testing is not foolproof. What an ass. Ugh, I just wish this last time would have worked or at least that the testing would have come back abnormal. I know you are being very thoughtful about choosing your next path, and we are all here to support you. Perhaps at some point, you just have to choose the lesser of the evils. Thinking of you.

  8. I know what *I* would do. But, honestly, I'm sure that's no help whatsoever to you.

    The one good thing (if you're in the mood to look at it that way) is that you do have options -- even if all of them are, um, less than ideal.

  9. Niobe, what would you do? Just curious.

  10. I'm sorry that things aren't clear for matter what annonymous commentors think. You are in crazy situation, one that you don't deserve. I have no words of wisdom other than to try and let your heart and mind work together to find a solution on next steps. I'm always thinking of you. I wish this weren't so hard.

  11. Oh, gosh, Mo. I think it's probably a good thing that you were able to say no to IVF #8 to Will...that says something about where you're willing to place boundaries.

    I'm not sure what I would do if I were you. But I'll throw another idea out there. Would you consider doing a simultaneous FET with your frozens at Denver and a fresh DE cycle? That's my backup backup plan, but I've already mentally moved on to DE (contract will be in the mail tomorrow).

    This is so far outside my area of expertise, but given that your "normals" were slow developers, what your RE said makes sense. Maybe there's something going on that causes arrest later down the road...

    I wish this whole mess were easier.

  12. Have you ever read Gladwell's "Blink"? It's about first/gut impressions more often than not being the "right" ones. I guess I'm wondering if there is a gut response you've had (prior to analyzing, intellectuallizing). I realize that gut reaction may be at odds with emotional health, too, but has there been a "gut" feeling in all this? Maybe as a place to start?

  13. I tend to agree that it's the level of 'suckage' that you're willing to live with. I am a bit confused by Will's suggestion-- if you did a fresh IVF, would you be able to have the embryos tested to be sure that they were normals? I thought those tests took weeks? Anyway, I'm praying for you both, and rooting hard for you to find your way to parenthood.

  14. I second and third the easy answers and no easy way off the rollercoaster ride. So instead of focusing on what to do I think I'll focus on the positives: 1. the embies you have are frozen normal blasts and there are 5 of them. 2. the holidays are over 3. You have ruled one choice out for now which is more IVF. The point is this, be kind to yourself and take the time you need for you and Will to figure out the next step.

  15. I'm certainly not implying that this is the right path for you, but here's what I'd probably do.

    And I'm only telling you because you asked.

    1. The chromonsomally normal embryos are going to be there as a back up (for transfer to you or a surro). You don't need to make any decisions about them now.

    2. If you're truly at peace with the idea of DE, I would do a DE cycle or two with a transfer to you. Go with a proven donor and you'll likely have some to freeze.

    3. If the DE cycles don't work, move on to surrogacy, using either your own frozen embryos or the frozens from the DE cycle.

    Remember, though, I'm massively risk averse. After I lost the twins, my doctors recommended that I try carrying again myself.

    But I knew my own limits. And I knew that the only way I could even consider going foward was with a surrogate.

  16. Hi Mo,

    I'm so very sorry this is what you have to deal with. But please please don't give up hope. Somewhere out there is the answer for you, the answer that will give you your babies. I wish you strength and stamina during this difficult time while you weigh your options and decide on the path best for you.

    Thinking of you.

  17. Niobe, Interesting ideas. Certainly good food for thought. thanks for sharing. appeals in a certain way b/c we wouldn't use up the embryos we have, which feel so precious and not necessarily replaceable. would let us see if my body can carry a baby or not. hmmm...i just might like your idea...hmmm...


  18. Dear Mo,

    The anonymous commenter is a shit. The writing on the wall? Give me a break. Sounds like someone who has never been on a path like yours. I'm so sorry that his/her comment has stuck in your mind so much.

    I wish I knew the answer for you. This is such a crappy situation and you have been through hell and back way more than your share of times, even in the IF world.

    I hope you and Will find a decision that feels right sooner rather than later. Sounds like the doctor thinks you should use your frozen embryos for another try or two. But since he's not the one who faces the possibility of a miscarriage, that isn't necessary the right thing for you.

    Know I'm thinking of you.

    love, inB

  19. Best clinic in the nation huh? Well they didn't quite figure out what was wrong with DH and me. After 2 unsuccessful IUI, we're still unexplained. There's only so much the docs can go on and each pregnancy unfortunately is a learning experience to rule out some things and point them to a different direction if needed. There are so many variables involved that there isn't a magic 8 ball to tell them the correct answer.

    Do what is right for you. If you "give up" before you are ready you might regret it.

  20. I'm sure some readers will hate me for this but I have been following your blog for years and really need to say this. If you just want to have a baby, then the quickest path is a proven egg donor and a proven surrogate. It will cost money, but it is really that much more than what you guys have already spent? Do you think you are just so far down the path you just have to keep going? The problem is the path may in fact be infinite, and life is short. You might not get the answer - no matter how many tests you do and how much time passes. I am sorry, I feel your pain and am an IM with a donor and surrogate, but at some point I think you need to stop torturing yourself and just let it go. I did, and once I did, I just got over it. It is more important to me to be a parent, rather than a biological parent. You deserve to have a life, and not to spend your time and money being a science experience. I say this with kindness and respect for everything you have been through.

  21. Oh Mo, there is no "right" answer, anoyn is a sh*t.

    As someone who went the my eggs/gs route, it's a whole pile of other hard( and your in NYC so your gs will have to be out of state for it to be legal). But, in a way it was a lot easier for me, having no choice but to go the gs route meant that the decision was made for me.

    It's something I have thought about a lot, would I prefer genetic children or the experience of pregnancy, I honestly don't know, surrogacy means that you never feel the baby kick, no one asks you about your pending delivery, and you get a big fat zero say in how the baby is treated in utero(including how they make an exit, even in a complicate situation where a csection should happen, you have to stand by and you can do nothing).

    Egg donation, in a way, is simpler, once you are pregnant, you just move forward, when the baby is born, you are the mum, no legal paper work, no lawyers,judges and DNA tests...

    Personally, I think that Niobe has the best suggestion, and the one I would go with.

    You can always email me if you ever want to chat surrogacy...

  22. Something to consider ... a parallel cycle ... People always thought I was crazy for this, but I've seen it done.

    At the same time transfer 1 or 2 of your normals into a surrogate, while doing a fresh DE cycle into your ute.

    Here I am saying this, but seriously, you're not in an easy spot. Anything can go in any direction ... so although anon thinks they know what they are talking about ... infertility treatments are never certain.

    Big hugs to you in this time,

  23. Those are some really tough decisions you are facing, and I agree with several of the previos commentors about picking the path least sucky. But it has to feel right and positive for both of you. I am happy for you that you have some frozen embies in reserve, that's a fantastic thing! And aren't doctors great? They give you all the advice, but they often refuse to make the choice! Ugh! Best wishes to you both, hoping you can find a positive and peaceful path forward.

  24. Thinking of you as you make these tough decisions. I can tell you my experience with the GC process so far, if you are ever interested although being Canadian the pricing is very different.

  25. I'm sorry you are in this awful limbo state with no clear next directions. For what it's worth, I'm in a similar situation. 3 missed miscarriages (2 after IVF); 2 of which we tested and were chromosomally normal (one lost at 7.5 weeks and the other at 13 weeks after being "perfect" up until those points in time). I've had every test in the book and no one has any ideas about why this keeps happening. Having said that, my REs have not suggested gestational surrogates or DE yet -- they feel we produce decent embryos and we did have one pregnancy eventually turn into a healthy baby. But was that a complete fluke? Could it ever happen again? I'm feeling pessimistic and wondering if I can handle going through yet another transfer, possibly getting pregnant, and facing another loss at this point. It's all such a gamble.

    Hoping for some clarity soon for you and wish the path were clear.

  26. I have no answers for you because only you and Will can come up with the answers.

    I can only share my experience.

    We stopped trying anything ART related far sooner than you--only after five failed IVFs (two at CCRM) lots of surgeries, biopsies, etc. etc. etc. in which only one resulted in a chemical.

    I just couldn't push anymore. The pendulum swung--being a mother and moving FORWARD with somewhat of a guarantee was more imporant than any genetic connection OR pregnancy. The hubs and I were always in agreement that either both of us were genetically related or neither, so maybe that made NOT using donor eggs (or even donor sperm, as that had been suggested as well--proving yet again that they are really just making educated guesses...and hey, I'm in medicine so I understand that's all a LOT of medicine is, but I digress) easier.

    As you know, we went with international adoption. Yes, it is fraught with it's own frustrations and limits as well but I can tell you this (and again, speaking only from my own brain and heart because it's the only one I can see into :) ) the moment I laid eyes on the photos of the babies I will adopt I was in love. Pure and simple. I'm going to be their Mom and I am thrilled beyond even my own expectations.

    The relief I felt when we finished ART was immense. IMMENSE. Suddenly I had my life back in the sense that I wasn't researching and reading about new fertility cocktails or egg quality improvers or IMSI or uterine biopsies. But I had reached that point where I simply could.not.go.on with the drama of medical treatment and with the intoxicating hope of each cycle, only to be let down again. Yes, it could have worked eventually, but now, I don't even care.


    OK that was a long comment, made only from a place of love and support and wonder and awe at all you have already been through.

  27. Mo, I've followed your story for a long time and I hope you don't mind me giving you my "what I'd do" scenario.

    I would do a donor egg cycle to your uterus and keep the frozen normals on ice. If the DE cycle works, you know the problem is not your uterus and you could use the frozens in a future cycle for a sibling. The pressure would be less and hopefully it would result in a sibling.

    I gave birth to twins from a DE cycle this summer and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. They are mine in everyway and I am so happy to be done with IF. We went out of the country for our DE cycle.

    I hope you don't mind me putting my 2c in here.

  28. There might be some writing on the wall...but it's so jumbled and twisted and so much is written how could you possibly know what the next right step is??? And from other blogs I've read, the Denver folks are NEVER slow to tell folks when it's time to move on, so if they haven't pulled that trigger yet...well...they seem to be a trustable group.

    Thinking of you...and hope you feel better soon.

  29. Hey Mo...I wish I had the answer for you as well. As for the annonymous commenter...ugh...wish they would identify themselves and provide a solution! As you know, your heart will tell you what to do on its own time. If you need any info on the DE know where to find me. Big hugs...

  30. Why don't you investigate using your own embryo with a surrogate in India - I think its a fraction of the cost in the US - not sure how much - as I am not to that point yet.
    best of luck

  31. After my 4th loss, I am moving onto embryo donation and have my consult on monday. I believe I probably don't have any good eggs left, although for sure I know 2/4 were abnormal chromosonal. Like you, I now want the shortest path to parenthood and hope this will be the right path to follow - (plus I can't afford one IVF, let alone 7 and this is a more affordable option for me) My opinion, I like Niobi's suggestion for you. I see it as the best of all choices. Best wishes.

  32. I just want you to know that I'm really rooting for you. I hope my saying this doesn't rub you the wrong way (I could see someone saying, well, easy for you to say, you have a biological child), but I can honestly say that now that I've had a baby for almost a year, I truly believe that it wouldn't have mattered where he came from -- donor egg, a surrogate, adopted, etc. Either way, you will bond with and know that baby from day one, better than anyone else on earth. You will see his/her soul emerge and love him/her for who s/he is, not how s/he came to you. And seriously, diapers are the great equalizer. We all change them -- a lot of them -- regardless of how our babies came into this world!

    That said, I totally respect your pursuit of pregnancy and hope you are successful no matter which path you choose. Ultimately you are the one who has to go through it, so you get to decide what feels right. I'm glad you had a strong feeling about no more fresh cycles. I bet other things will start becoming clearer in the coming days, just like that.

    PS That anonymous commenter is so LAME.

  33. I'd like to disclaim before beginning that I am not *the* anonymous commenter.

    I agree with what several other people have touched on... only you can decide what's right for you. Everybody has their own different standards for what is too much, too far. And it's so difficult for us to put ourselves in your shoes and be able to say: "I'd give up on this idea now."

    How many women swear they'll never do IVF, only to change their minds when they realise it represents their best chance for a baby? While for other people, even clomid is an emotional step further than they're comfortable with.

    You have had the courage and horrendous luck to push yourself further along this road than most women could believe. That penultimate paragraph where you say you just want a baby struck a chord with me because I had a similar thought as I prepared to move onto IVF. I think that means that you still have the emotional resources within you for whatever your next step is. And I hope that next step becomes clear to you soon.

    One other thought, I don't suppose you know anybody, friend or family, who would be willing to be your surrogate? That would presumably reduce costs a bit, although it seems a long shot...

    Anyway, my utmost sympathy and my utmost respect. I can only hope something marvelous happens for you soon.

  34. 1. i totally don't "get" anonymous commenters who slam you for your life.

    2. i've been thinking a lot about you guys and know this is so tough. just sending you virtual support and hugs!


  35. First let me say, once again, that I'm so sorry you're going through this.

    I haven't posted in a while, not because I haven't been keeping up with your posts, but because I feel a little bit like I say the same thing every time I post here and you're probably getting really sick of hearing it ;)

    But with that's a new year and I'm feeling compelled to add my 2 cents one last time, so here it is:

    I really, really, really, really (is that enough really's?) think you need to address the immune problems that you had diagnosed back in October of 2009. You had multiple abnormal results, which suggests that the problem is more than just a mild one.

    Given the number of micro-array "normals" you produced during your last two IVFs, I don't think this is the first time you've miscarried a normal embryo.

    I also don't think your most recent miscarriage was a fluke or just bad luck and, given your diagnosis, I'm not buying the placental pathology report from Kliman.

    I know you weren't impressed with the miscarriage wizard who did your your original immune testing but please don't throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. There really are sane people in the field of reproductive immunology (I promise!) and I think you should see one to get another opinion. Specifically, I'd recommend Dr. Braverman, 1) because he's local to you in NYC, and 2) because he's doing some of the most cutting edge work in the world right now on TH1:TH2 cytokine problems and reportedly has been seeing some very impressive results with a brand new approach (no it's not IVIG or intralipids or Humira).

    Also--short of DE or a GS, the one thing you haven't tried is full immune treatment (and I don't just mean intralipids because, frankly, I don't think intralipids are sufficient to treat a cytokine problem) with a chromosomally normal embryo. Yes, immune treatment can be expensive but it's nowhere close to the price of DE or a GS.

    And just so you know I'm wiling to put my money where my mouth is, I've been doing IVIG myself to get ready for a DE FET in February. And I even got my insurance to pay.

    If you aren't willing to pursue immune treatment (I know some of the treatments have given you pause) I really think you need to use a GS.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents and I'll sit down and shut up now. I truly wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide.

  36. From reading your post, Mo, it sounded to me like you and Will want to further look into adoption. I know that can be a long road too, but is it really longer or more expensive than the other options you are considering? The way I see it, it is the only option with a guaranteed baby at the end. (I'm sure that sounds naive, i know the horror stories about birth parents changing their minds, etc, but it usually works out eventually, and there are plenty of kids needing loving parents.). You never mention adoption, I'm not sure why this is?

    Will continue to be behind you and sending good thoughts your way.

    PS Also not "the" anonymous, and certainly don't mean to imply that I think adoption is what you should do, but just wonder why it is never on the list...

  37. Ugh! No suggestions from me. You've gotten plenty already. I am glad you said no to Will's suggestion. Even just from the standpoint of stims being bad for endo. You WILL be a mother. You have various options. It just sucks big time that all the options carry the risk of more pain and loss. But they also carry the possibility of a take home baby. xoxo

  38. Another anonymous, but not THE anonymous. I didn't see the original comment but I would wonder what that meant too. It's not clear what to do next. For ME, after what you have been through, and the money you have probably already spent, and what all the next treatments would probably cost, I'd be looking at surrogacy. Another risk-averse sort here, where I could not take another loss in my own body. Maybe that's what the other commenter meant, that your body is really struggling with holding on to a pregnancy, and no one can tell you why exactly, but a lot of people would probably be looking at alternatives at this point. I absolutely mean no offense and wish you all the best in what is obviously not an easy decision. I ached when I read about your last loss.

  39. Hey Mo, I wish I had some answers for you - but I hope you can feel the support of all these people out in blogland. I'm at the end of my rope, and I've only logged in 1/2 the attempts you have! God knows you are due for some good luck, maybe you can try a multi-pronged approach? Like get on the donor list (it took me almost a year the first time) and schedule your FET also? But sometimes you just need to give yourself room to hear what needs to happen next, I'm hoping your gut will have an answer soon.

  40. Dear Mo and Will, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I don't have any answers for you, but I do want to send you my love and support and hope. You must be so weary. (( hugs ))

  41. Screw Anonymous. It's your wall, only you and your partner know what is 'written' on there.

    As an aside, going by your posts at this time last year, I think we might share a 39th birthday. If so, happy birthday... I really really hope this is your year.

  42. Mo, I am so sorry this is where you are. I am not where you are in the process and have not been through nearly as much.

    I think what one of the other commenters suggested (Nobie (sp?) maybe?) sounds like what I would probably do in your situation and try the DE first and see what happens for a cycle or two since you are willing to continue. If our next cycle is a bust, we will probably move onto adoption or we will have to come to terms with calling it quits-but it is different for us as we already have one child from IVF.

    The idea of doing a parallel cycle is also appealing, but not financially probably. And if you consider what you are shelling out to do a cycle for yourself, plus a gs, and the fact that you could potentially end up with a few babies in the end if it worked out across the board and the financial ramifications of that...well...only you know if your family could handle that scenario.

    I pray that you and Will can come to decision that you are truly at peace with and that everything works out for you.

  43. Mo and Will-I am so sorry you guys are even in this position. I also had many miscarriages and many failed IVF attempts. I knew I could not enter into another IVF without changing a major factor. Emotionally that is. Physically, no problem. We were unexplained as well though we had never had a path report of normal either. All of ours were a Trisomy of some sort. We took a risk and went DE knowing that it may not solve anything. We did not know whether it was my uterus, DH sperm (though his counts were all normal) or my egg quality. I also knew that if DE failed...I was done. It would either be surrogate or adoption. Thankfully, DE worked on the first try.
    I do know that once infertility started to define me-when it was my everything....I had to do something to make me feel like I was walking towards being a mom in a different way. We met with an attorney and started the process for private adoption. If both happened to work out I would feel very blessed. It felt very safe to me to do something that would get me to being a mom. Prayers are with you guys.

  44. Damn, Mo, this is so hard to figure out. All I wish is for clarity for you both (how is Will? I miss his Wednesdays with Will.)

    Anyway, taking the emotional part of of it (if that's even possible?) I would try what the docs are recommending and try another FET. It will yeild answers one way or another, and that's got to be good, right? Perhaps at the same time get your ducks in a row for another option (DE makes the most sense to me, but may GS too?). Emotionally though, I don't know...another loss just seems like too much. I don't know if it something you are willing to risk.

    I wish you had easier choices, I wish you had clarity.

  45. Thinking of you Mo. Our stories have so many similarities. We are also unsure of what to do. We've started down the adoption path because we don't have any more normal blasts in Denver. I so wish we did. I think you have a good plan. I just wish there was a way to know that this will all work out in the end, and that we could have a GPS to tell us how to get there. I look forward to following your story!

  46. I have no idea what you should do, I'm afraid, and can only imagine how your heads must be swimming as you try and determine your next steps. Ignore "anonymous," it's always very easy for someone not living your life to tell you how to live it. I will be wishing you and Will peace and clarity as you try to decide what to do.

  47. I by no means have the answers, although I so wish I did, but have ya'll ever thought of doing a cycling a surrogate at the same time as you cycle? Then if yours didn't work and hers did (or vice versa) then you still have saved time. Or better yet, they both take and you get two babies? Does that make sense because I'm not exactly sure how to word it. Sending tons of prayers your way!

  48. Wow, really interesting comments on this one! I guess all the different opinions reflect all the different ways we see as the least unbearable route to parenthood when the obvious way doesn't work out.

    I echo what serenity said at the top. I think it all comes down to which sorts of loss seem the most unbearable to you. Losing genetic connection? Losing a shared child (if only one of you gets the genetic connection, or neither)? Losing the pregnancy experience? Losing more control? Losing yet more time? I guess each one points to a different route.

    The only thing I have to add, and this is from my own experience so feel free to ignore it: don't underestimate the reality of any of those losses as you decide. We decided to adopt (meaning we faced all of them), and I loooooooove my kids to the moon and back. But when we started, I really wasn't expecting just how much and how often all those losses would come around and smack me in the face. I'd definitely make the same decision again, but I think I was unprepared for that.

    Some of the ones I used to really care about barely figure in my thinking anymore; others that weren't much of an issue a year or two ago feel bigger now. But they are all real, and different people find different ones more unbearable than others.

    I couldn't imagine my life without our exact children, and our life together is incredibly rewarding. But it's certainly not simple, and anybody who thinks that they can see the 'writing on the wall' for anyone else trying to make these gigantic decision needs to take a long walk off a short pier.

    Sorry for this very long comment! Sending you my very best.

  49. I suspect the option I'd think of trying would be DE, and probably in Europe. did it and it worked first try. She'd probably have good advice for you if you wanted to look into going overseas.
    I just wish there weren't so much uncertainty, no matter which way you decide to proceed. Is there something wrong with your eggs from the chemo that the tests can't pick up? Is it some immunological problem that's causing the normals to miscarry? I sure hope you meet with success soon, no matter whether you get answers or not.

  50. Ah, if only life were as straightforward as 'anonymous' suggests. The hardest thing about the IF journey is that there is no right answer, there is no clear path, there is no sensible, 10 step process toward a solution. Anyone who says otherwise has never been there, has no imagination for what you are going through, and is insensitive enough to hide their patronizing comments through the cloak of anonymity. IF is a rabbit hole that most are lucky enough not to fall into.

  51. I know I have been guilty of thinking that someone should just do XXX, but when I got to that point myself, I realized just how complicated it all is. My BigShotClinic doc said to me, "do you want a baby, or do you just want to go through the process (i.e. IVF w/ my own eggs with incredibly low odds)". I thought how unfair of him that question was. It was a big process for me to agree to donor eggs. It wasn't just about having a baby. I wish it were that simple, or I would have moved on when I still had some money for DE. But then again, if it were just up to me, I would have adopted before doing IVF. I personally feel like adoption is a better guarantee of a child than DE IVF. But that's just me.

  52. Mo,

    Niobe and Polly's ideas resonate with me for both your and my own personal issues (me: on IVF 9, immune issues, etc). I can't get my embryos to implant (all 29 of them) and have always wondered if getting pregnant with DE would "reset" my body and uterus, allowing me to successfully transfer/carry my own at a later time.

    As a medical professional, is there any data to suggest that completing a pregnancy would help one's uterus to be more receptive to a second (with ones own embyros)? I wonder if that would help you (or others i this situation)?

    I guess there's always the counterargument that, immunologically speaking, a first pregnancy could cause other issues with HLA-DQA1 matches for the 2nd attempt.

    Whatever the two of you choose, I hope that you and Will find the right solution for you. It's not easy to set on a path, that much many of us know (well, except for anon who thinks it's an easy decision).

  53. {{{Mo}}}, I'm so sorry that even the doctors seem at a loss about what to advise you to do. Will you have a regroup with Dr. Schoolcraft before making a final decision? FWIW, in your shoes, I think I'd lean towards changing up one of the variables--either use DE or try a GC, but that's just me. Trust what your gut is telling you to do.


  54. I'm so sorry. I just want this to work for you very soon in whatever way you and Will can be at peace with. I like Niobe's approach personally but as other people have said this is such a personal thing, there is no right or wrong answer, only that which you and Will like best (or can live with most). Wishing you good things and soon.

  55. Hey Mo, I've been wondering how you were doing and hoping you had some better answers :(
    First, I think anonymous posters who leave comments like that lack courage- why else would they leave such a hurtful remark? How was that helpful or productive in your quest for solutions> NOT! I am sorry for that---and of course that you are even in the position of receiving comments such as that. UGH!
    Who, besides you and Will, can truly know your limits? Be that emotional and/or financial? The paths that are being laid out before you are filled with challenges, and again no guarantee of a baby at the end, no matter which choice you make...I know you will carefully and thoughtfully make your next decision and we will be here to cheer you on--no matter which path you opt for. Always here for you and you have my email if you want to chat (life and/or surrogacy in NY!) ((hugs))

  56. I wish I had a crystal ball that could provide the answer for both of us. Your last three paragraphs - I'm right there with you, word for word. I hope both of us are able to figure out the answer in 2011.

  57. The writing on the wall!?!? Wow. Glad that they have such a grasp oin where you are and what you are dealing with. Errrrr. That burns me up.

    Im sorry that things are so conflicting and confusing right now. I know there's no advice we can give or not much we can say to comfort. Just know that people out there are thinking about you and rooting for you, and, I am praying that a path will be made more abundantly clear so your decision making can be easier.

    So many hugs!

  58. I think the writing says whatever you read it to say. Whatever path you choose will be the right one.

    If you give your body or your eggs one more shot, then you will know you did all you could. If it does not result in a Take Home Baby then you know one or both of those options are exhausted.

    If you choose not to try your eggs or your body and end up with the Take Home Baby then I would imagine the joy would drown all the back and forth.

    No matter what happens, you can pull some kind of peace from it and close options down one at a time.

  59. Oh I'm so sorry you're still dealing with this. You've been through so much.

    I may already have posted this here but as I was facing choices about my own (much less difficult than yours though still difficult for me to navigate) infertility treatments, the one question that I found really helpful in making decisions was to ask myself, "If I try this and it doesn't work, will I regret having tried it?" Implicit in that, I suppose, is that I never reached a point where I had questions about whether I might have regrets if it did work, e.g., against medical advice, I never used donor gametes (not saying that this is a bad choice, just saying one could pursue it, have it work, and regret the loss of genetic connection).

    I know when I saw your earlier post, I thought in your shoes (though who knows, really?) I'd be more tempted by surrogacy than DE if only because that way it wouldn't be me agonizing over every twinge the pregnancy caused. But Niobe also raises very good points.

    I hope you can find your way to a decision that you are both comfortable about and that brings you the child you long for.

  60. We made the decision not to move forward with IVF. And I have to say I have just as many doubts and just as much confusion as you. The only truth is you can't know. There is no perfect answer (the perfect answer is what we all wanted and lost - that magically easy BFP with a baby arriving happily 9 months later). Wishing you clarity and strength as you find your way to your family.

  61. I stumbled upon your blog and read it through from the beginning.

    I'm so sorry for what you've gone through. I, too, had Hodgkins and have been trying unsuccessfully for almost four years to get pregnant. I never regained ovarian function, so went to DE from the get-go. I have done 6 IVF cycles so far (3 different donors: sister for 3, unproven anonymous for next 2, then proven anonymous for 1 and have 3 embryos frozen). The message was always that my husbands tests were fine and there was no reason why I shouldn't be able to get pregnant and carry a child. Clearly, there is a reason.

    I'm a week away from a FET to see if that possibly shows why the h*ll I can't get pregnant. (Though reading your blog is showing me that's not necessarily going to be the end-all...)

    I've recently brought up the topic of surrogacy or adoption with my husband and he just isn't ready. But, your last post hit home because I'm nearing the point where I just want some sort of resolution and to get my life back. If surrogacy or adoption brings me a child who I know I'll love no matter what, I may be ready to just get going with it.

    I've rambled. But, you aren't alone. Thanks for putting all of this out there and helping me realize the same.

  62. Came across this article and thought of your query. Perhaps it will provide some insight or food for thought.

  63. A few words of intro. My wife and I started down IVF Lane 5y ago, first with big Midwest clinic in the shadow of a Big Ten stadium (3 rounds, over surpressed protocol). Next came frequent flyer Silver status travel to big Upper East Side clinic (6 rounds with endo co-culture, lovenox for 1 copy MTHFR, first name basis with HMT staff, 2 miscarriages-last one needed D&C and was "chromosomally normal"). 3 additional consults along the way, including 1 day w/u @ famous Rocky Mt front range clinic.
    After "c... nl" our NYC RE told us much the same thing as you heard. So similar we think it is probably the same RE; the one who personally wheels you from surgery and whistles if it's a good day (if you are reading this, thank you for everything, your skill, your kindness, even though we didn't have success of the type we wanted, it prepared us for our next step, and we still think the world of you and your clinic, and yes we know you read these things in your spare time but hopefully this is far enough down in the comments that you'll miss it).
    Exausted, depleted, anguished, our next step took us west to famous "Rose City" clinic and DE. This was a very difficult step, more so for my wife who had to give up her genetics to have children, all the while knowing that the son she miscarried was "c... nl" and maybe the next cycle would be the one. Even high resolution c band studies only look at 650-850 bands and there are about 20,000 protein encoding genes, sensitive enough to ID our friend's Robertsonian translocation, but not sensitive to find all the subtle things that can cause it not to go...
    We did not want a shared cycle and wanted to meet our donor; NYC clinic only did anonymous shared then. Our donor was a lovely person and we are so glad we could meet her. We now have two lovely sons 6m & 19m and I pinch myself every day to remind me it's real.

  64. Hello. I have followed your blog for years now. Never commenting, just observing and hoping along with you. I wish I had some answers for you, a crystal ball or something. I reside in Florida, I think a gestational carrier is at no charge in Florida because of our state laws. I also think that there is no charge in Florida for egg donation. Something to think about down the road. Best wishes.

  65. I am coming out of lurking to let you know how much I love your blog. I found you earlier this year when I started venturing down my own path of dealing with IF. Now that I am dealing with a loss, I am focusing on gratitude for the support I found this past year and whether you realize it or not there are lots of people like me who find strength in your words.

    To honor you I am sharing a blog award with can see it on my blog.

    Thank you a million times over for sharing your experiences.

  66. Wow, I was looking into the Florida laws: that Anonymous above referred to-- but even better is the interactive map near the bottom of the page. Still cheering for you here for whatever you find is best.

  67. I've had 6 miscarriages (all prior to 7w) and came across this article a few days ago. It attempts to make some sense of the mechanisms behind RPL. Hugs.

  68. Mo- I am a regular reader and I agree with what every one has said here. There's no easy answers. I think it's amazing all you've done so far. I did 5 IVFs, and I am done. My guess is science hasn't caught up to what the issue is for you, and I am so sorry that you will need to go through more and not easily and at great expense- to get your baby. Reading along and supporting you- whatever path you decide to take.

  69. Mo,
    So sorry for all you've been through, and that the path forward is so unclear. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Could you email me if you have a minute? I have a quick question for email's on my blog. Thx.

  70. Hi Mo - I've been keeping you in my thoughts and I hope you are having a good day today.

    In an effort to cheer you up if you're not, I wanted to let you know that I gave you a blog award today. You're welcome to come over and check it out if you'd like.

  71. You were on my mind today. Funny throwing the fuck bomb at yet another road block made me think of you, huh?

    You one tough cookie.

  72. Mo-- are you okay? It's not like you to go almost a month without posting, but I realize that sometimes we all need to take a break from the insanity of it all... Sending warm and hopeful vibes your way.

  73. We used a surrogate and it was the BEST thing we ever did. The most amazing experience of our life (and I've been pregnant before). I check your blog daily and want more than anything for you to have a baby as soon as possible. I know that is your dream too... Please read my blog if you want to see how amazing the surrogacy experience can be. My site is . All the best to the two of you. I will continue to keep you in my thought and prayers... You WILL have a baby in your arms soon, you WILL. :)

  74. Just read the above comments regarding surrogacy in FL. If it is in FL like it is here in MI--you cannot pay someone to carry your baby. All we paid for was the embryo transfer and some FDA tests and it worked the first time for us. We had a dear friend carry our baby and it was such a special time. A time like no other...

    Honestly, I know that making the decision on the next steps is always the hardest part. Then you just go through the motions. I am SO glad we took this step. No regrets at all, not one. Please contact me if you ever want to talk about it. We are very open people and we have followed your blog for sometime (but never wrote you until now). We really want the best for you two!!!

    In MI, the woman needs to be married and she needs to have had a child of her own. I've spelled out all of the steps we went through in detail as I entered my private journal entries from this private time a year ago on my blog. I am now holding our 7 month old. Just saying... You only have so many embryos left and you want the very best odds, right? At least that was what it boiled down to for us when it came time for us to make what seemed like an impossible decision.

    OK, good luck and let me know if you ever want to talk!


  75. I am sorry that you and Will are dealing with all this uncertainty. Plus, microarray genetics.... that's a rough one. It's really a pity that human embryology research is so limited. My spouse used to work in a human reproduction lab and they could basically only run microarrays when the IVF clinic requested it- never to simply test the protocol, etc.

    Human genetics is always a tricky issue; scientists often forget, while we're working in the lab, that our tidy answers in model organisms are a lot messier in real people.


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