Monday, June 23, 2008

Fertility (not a post for the easily squeamish or offended)

I've learned some very interesting things about fertility these past few months. You have all the eggs you will ever have in your entire life when you are still a baby in the womb. That means that Amelia is almost as old as I am :) At birth, you lose a large percentage of those. At puberty, you lose another percentage. A woman has lost 90% of her fertility by the time she's 40. 99% by the time she's 45. Most of the women you hear of who are pregnant after the age of 40 have had extra help or are using other eggs. Apparently while your eggs age, your uterus never does. By age 40, you have a one in 15 chance of viability (meaning one of every 15 eggs that is impregnated will live). By now, my odds are 1 in 20.

For those who know Lisa, you do the math on what they must have done to have 9 kids by the time she was 40. I'm just saying....

My doctor, Dr. Blohm (in Savannah) is very, very direct - which leads to some unintentionally hilarious moments.

Like when he's giving me an ultrasound and keeps mumbling "42. 42? 42." Then he walks out of the room. That would be my actual age if, in fact, I was still having birthdays. Which I'm not. I stopped at 39 and I'm waiting for Rafe to catch up! :) Apparently, my age astonishes him because I'm not supposed to be doing as well on the meds as I am. Since most of my eggs are supposed to be gone by now, the best he was hoping for was 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 that reached the required size. When I go into his office, he tells me that my ovaries have a lot of bang left in them, and that I'm giving a 28 year old in his office a run for the money. I have 8 eggs that are the right size, and more that are growing still. I don't have to worry about having 8 kids, however, as again, my odds are only 1 in 15 or 1 in 20 of even having this be a viable pregnancy.

Then he tells me that only once before in the last 15 years has he had a 43 yr old (which technically he considers me since I will be having another non-birthday in August) conceive naturally - meaning without another woman's eggs. The good news is that my body apparently behaves much like hers, so he thinks it's a shot worth taking.
If this doesn't work, then we will try one time after Rafe leaves with IVF, but he thinks that will take all the eggs I have left and we will only have one chance to make it work. Out of 25 eggs, he thinks he can get at least 1 to live.

I'm oddly thrilled by knowing that my eggs are kicking butt. Since I was never the athletic type, never was in a marathon or really very competitive, it seems sort of funny to me that my little eggs are showing off their muscles. Go eggies!!

Anyway, the down side is that he told me that outside of the military, I would have been sent to a fertility specialist 2 years ago, with a much greater likelihood of being pregnant naturally. And that if we had the funds to pay for it to begin with, he would have gone with IVF immediately. Tricare doesn't pay for that, so we had to work with the option we could.

Please pray that it works this time. We want another child very much; and if I don't get pregnant, we have decided to use our savings for a one time shot at IVF. Which, by the way, is unbelievable expensive and I'm very bummed out that Tricare won't pay for it. As soon as I have time after Rafe leaves, I'm going to write a proposal to send to Tricare and the local congressman to bring to the Senate for a change in the Tricare payment. I think if you are over 40 and your husband has deployed or is deploying, they should pay for it 100%. As it stands, they won't pay for anything but assisted natural (meaning medication to help promote egg production).

The one nice thing that the MC is doing this time is letting Rafe start leave 1 day early so he can be home "in time". ;)


Karen said...

Hi, I'm a friend of Barb's, and I so appreciate your blog on fertility. I've been there done that and got a T-shirt or I guess I should say a successful pregnancy. That was 6yrs ago. I was 36 back then. Hang in there, keep your faith and don't look back. I will keep you in my prayers and I wish you the best of luck!

Karen said...


Tammi said...

I had not idea you were doing this!! I will be in prayer for you.