Infertility 101

  • Posted on September 30, 2010 at 10:37 pm

My husband and I tried for two years to start a family.  I tracked my cycle for months, peed on sticks ten to twenty days a month, used a fertility monitor (which became just a very expensive cycle tracker), took my basal body temperature for that tell-tale sign of a temperature spike at the ungodly hour of 4:00 AM, and peed on countless pregnancy tests, crying into a towel in the bathroom to hide my sorrow and frustration when none of them said “PREGNANT.” Sometimes, as a cruel joke, my body would wake up at 2:00 AM to alert me that I had to go to the bathroom, but I couldn’t go until at the earliest 3:00 AM.  There is nothing worse than knowing you have to pee, but not being able to for fear of messing up your basal body temperature.

I was told by my OB/GYN that I had to try for a year before we would even be considered for a referral to an infertility doctor.  I knew something was wrong, even before I met my husband.  But, I couldn’t have any testing done until after that coveted year.  I fudged it (we didn’t wait the coveted year), and, even though my doctor knew I did, went ahead and referred us to a fertility clinic.  I had a battery of tests done, as well as my husband, and even though my OB/GYN said my hormone levels were “Normal!,” I still knew something was WRONG.

The fertility clinic we were referred to was nice enough, but we couldn’t escape the feeling that they wanted our money right then and there.  We felt we were being pressured to start the first cycle right away and they were preying on our desperation to have a family.  I didn’t like the feeling of being pressured to start, not even giving us time to research the clinic or the procedures that would be done on me.  The doctor called some number while we sat in his office and spoke in a fast dialogue about the two of us.  It was all rather weird and strange and not something we really felt any comfort with starting.

I went home and researched the clinic we were referred to, as well as other fertility clinics in the area.  It became obvious after I was able to compare fertility clinics that the one we were referred to was not the clinic we would want to use.  Despite all the pictures of happy babies from happy clients decorating the lobby, the fertility clinic we went to had the lowest success rate for a woman my age (35 when we started) compared to other clinics in the area.

After looking over the data available, we decided to go with the clinic that had the highest success rate, with several offices smattered around southern California.  I called to make an appointment and because of my wacky coaching schedule, managed to finally squeeze in a consultation appointment for $250.00.  That’s right… despite having the best insurance coverage I’ve ever had in my life, to the point where I could add my husband onto my plan for free, it did NOT cover the cost of infertility.  My family doctor, bless his beautiful, old soul, managed to get expensive tests done on me that I only had to pay the co-pay for.  If he hadn’t written up the hysterosalpingogram as a necessary test to see why my cycles were so severe, I would have had to pay for the test myself, and that would have just added to the exorbitant amounts of money we would ultimately have to pay.

I brought all my test results, the hysterosalpingogram (normal), my progesterone levels (my OB/GYN said it was normal!), and my husband’s lab results to our consultation.  The fertility doctor looked everything over and said, very succinctly, “Your progesterone levels are NOT normal.  You are producing progesterone, but not enough to maintain a pregnancy.  Your husband’s results are not enough for us to determine whether you’ll need to do an IUI or IVF.”  So, my poor husband had to go and have more tests done.

It was determined that we both had nasty fertility issues, me with low progesterone, and my husband with a Kroger count of 1% (the normal range is 5-6%).  The only available option for us was IVF with ICSI.

Stay tuned… Part 2 in a few days.

Leave a Reply