I spoke yesterday by phone with Dr. Schl. in Denver. Originally this call was set up to discuss whether it made sense to go forward with my sister as an egg donor, but once we received her AMH results, we knew that we wouldn't be cycling with her. Then the question became: How serious is this for her? What do I tell her?
At first, Dr. Schl. said my sister's situation wasn't so serious. Although she wouldn't be a good ART candidate, she would only need a single egg a month to have a baby, and at age 31 the quality would likely be fairly high. He said he estimated that she has a 50% chance of being able to have a child naturally and just needs to get started immediately. But then I told him that she is single, that she is not ready to have a family any time soon. His tone changed. In that case, he said, she has a big problem. In his opinion, she only has a couple of years left to have a child if she wants one. Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. He said if she is not ready to have a child now, she should definitely consider freezing her eggs if she wants a child in the future. He recommended two clinics for this - his and a clinic in Atlanta - as the only two places to go.
I asked what I should say to her, how to phrase it, and shared how terrible I feel that we've uncovered this concerning news for her. He offered to speak to her by phone if I/she would like and explain to her the results of the tests, that he would like to take some of the burden off of Will and me by doing that. Which was a really kind offer, and which would be a huge relief. So I will be talking to my sister over the holiday and trying to arrange this. I wish all of this were not the case, not the reality. But I am grateful to have some expert help in framing the news for my sister so she can make whatever decisions she would like to about her future.
I also informed Dr. Schl. about what had happened with the first donor we chose. Told him that she looked great, had 33 resting follicles, everything panned out and we were good to go....and that then she turned out to have an inversion on chromosome 9. Those of you who know Dr. Schl. know that he is on the dry and non-emotional side, so I was quite taken aback when he said, "You're kidding me!!! An inversion on chromosome 9?!" I assured him that yes, that is what had happened, and remarked that Will and I have had a knack for hitting on rare and unlikely events during the course of our attempts at procreation. That's when Dr. Schl. said, "Wow! I wouldn't want to buy a lottery ticket with you two!" Um, ahem, no. You probably wouldn't want to. Typing this, I realize that it might sound like he was being insensitive, and maybe he was, but I actually found his response - his rather emotional response - validating in a strange way.
We talked about some other technical details on testing donors and the possibility of me getting an endometrial biopsy done soon that I won't bore you with.
But the other main topic we covered was the question of what I should do next. I am nearing the end of a grueling two month course of Depot Lupron. I will not have a donor ready to cycle with any time soon, it doesn't look like. So I asked him the unanswerable questions: What does he recommend I do at this point? Should I transfer back some of our genetically normal embryos? Or should I wait...does he think I need a surrogate?
His answer was interesting. "I think you will do fine with donor eggs."
Ooookkkkaaaayy.... I took this to mean at the time that he was voting we probably don't need a surrogate, despite what he has said at other points in time. But that my eggs are pretty cruddy, genetically normal or not.
He said that we can tell the embryologist what to transfer if we decide to transfer back some of our normals into me - maybe not transferring all of my very best ones all at once so that we have a bit of a backup plan in the (very likely seeming) case of failure.
After I got off the call with Dr. Schl., I remembered that at the beginning of the call he had said that the Denver clinic's computers were down. So then I wondered if he'd had my chart with him when we spoke, and whether he'd remembered exactly who we are and what our history is when advising me.
Hoping so. These are pretty big decisions facing us.
Emotionally, I am in a very bad place. It took everything I had not to burst out crying several times during my call with Dr. Schl. Things feel fragile and tenuous. I am so afraid of making the "wrong" decision but also feel that doing nothing is contributing to how down and out I've been feeling.
Hard to believe that Christmas is a couple of days away. I feel like we'll be going through the motions a bit this year with me in this dark place and Will grieving the loss of his father keenly.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday. Hoping that 2012 brings all of us the things we have been wishing for most, which of course are most likely not things at all.
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