I think the weight of our most recent diagnosis has finally hit both Hammer and I. It was a delayed response because it came right in the middle of loosing Hammer’s dad. It’s to be expected I suppose. Both of us have begun to feel down and defeated every time we think about that 48%. It seems insurmountable. And now we are still awaiting the results of my recent AMH test. This is the test that will really tell us how many eggs are left in my ‘baskets.’ My FSH is fine so my egg quality is fine but I’m such a hard stimmer and lefty has low antral follicle counts so they are wondering if I may have diminished ovarian reserves. I have to admit I’m really worried.
Our first IVF I was on the long lupron cycle and 225 units of Bravelle a day. We were almost cancelled but managed to get 6 mature eggs of which only 3 fertilized.
Our second IVF was long lupron again on 300 units of Bravelle + 75 units of Luveris. I had 11 follicles and 9 eggs were collected, 8 were mature eggs, and 7 fertilized.
We’re not getting vast improvements in the egg making department here. My only hope is that my AMH is fine and that the real issue is that I’m just not a good candidate for the long lupron protocol. We could really use some good news here. But I’m feeling a bit defeated and have found myself wondering if we should just drop everything and head to adoption, the sure thing, right? But it’s not a settled feeling, there is no peace in that decision, so we push forward.
Our third and final IVF will be a lupron flare protocol with 375 units of Bravelle + 75 units of Luveris. This is the max you can give a person AND it's a short cycle ~2-3 weeks which I like...a lot.
Hammer is starting to really struggle with the fact that, per his words, “it’s his fault” regardless of the fact that I’ve told him I’ve always known but that it didn’t matter, this is OUR trial and we are doing this TOGETHER and that if given the chance I would marry him all over again even knowing we would go through this. He is my soul mate, the one whom God intended for me,, there is not a doubt in my mind. I think that over the course of this journey he has really held it together while I have been a roller coaster since, as you all know, women are put through the majority of the procedures, drugs etc. I think this is his moment where he needs to grieve but it just kills me to see him struggle because I know full well what he is feeling. But it does not help that this comes on the tails of losing his dad and the fact that we both have always known for years he would never see his grandchildren and now it has come true.
And now we’ve come to the end of the line, last chance IVF. Go big or go home. So to pick us up and give us some hope I resumed my research on IVF/ICSI and DNA fragmentation. It was actually very encouraging. In one article showed that for men who did not meet ICSI criteria (Hammer) and were treated with antioxidants for 2 months, there was an increase in pregnancy rate that went from 6.9% to 48.2%. And that ICSI actually had a more negative outcome. Two other articles supported this outcome. So we are leaning towards not doing ICS because it is believed that the zona of the egg and good ole’ Mother Nature herself may be the best selector of healthy sperm in our case. We are, however, going to ask about assisted hatching which is used in couples who have had several failed IVF cycles, like us.
Hammer’s vitamin regime has been revised to the following (amount increase in parenthesis):
-Vitamin C 1000 mg (+800 mg)
-Vitamin E 800 IU (+400 IU)
-L Acetyl-Carnitine 1 gram
-L Carnitine 1 gram (morning and evening)
-Pycogenol 100 mg
-Co Q-10 75 mg
In addition to vitamins we will both begin drinking antioxidant smoothies:
1 oz acai juice
1oz pomegranate juice
1oz frozen wheat grass
½ cup organic blueberries
½ cup organic orange and/or pineapple juice
½ cup organic yogurt
2 tbsp raw honey
Hopefully this will be an even bigger antioxidant booster. We will also be ensuring that Hammer eats 2-3 dinner salads that contain organic mixed greens. Our chiropractor has an antioxidant screening test that Hammer will have done to get a baseline and then subsequent checks to see if his levels are improving. I’m posting all of this for those women out there who may have or may be interested in testing for sperm DNA fragmentation but then receive little to no guidance from their RE’s about how to treat it. Mainly because that is what we are experiencing but thankfully as a dietitian and background in research I know enough to find out how to treat it. My hope is that I can pass this on to anyone else out there who may need it. If those of you who are reading have any questions I will be more than happy to answer them as there is not a lot of information out there and it’s a controversial topic.