23 November 2013

Some Final Thoughts (for now)

I said I would talk more about my last appointment and now (that I'm procrastinating from writing my thesis) is the time.  I met with the doctor who did my last retrieval about 2 weeks afterwards.  I was still disappointed, but recovering very well (the fewer eggs, the easier the recovery I think).  I had questions.  I also think I felt a bit lost.  This has been a very emotional process.  Not difficult necessarily, but certainly emotional.  I put a lot of effort in the past year and a half to thinking about children and my future, I do all of this and then.... it all gets put on hold.  Although I continued to date this past year and a half, I didn't meet anyone special.  I'm finishing up a PhD which means my job status is uncertain for at least 6 months.  I've been finding it just as hard to 'let go' of all the thoughts this brought up as it was to have them in the first place.

So, the first question, would going back on birth control damage my fertility, and if not, how soon could I go back on it?  I had my post-retrieval period and the doctor suggested it would be no problem at all to go back on birth control on the next natural period after.  So in a couple weeks, I'm back on the pill.  There shouldn't be any negative side effect to my fertility for being on the pill, so that's fine.

In the future, if I want to get pregnant, the doctor suggested I still try naturally or 'less invasive' methods before using my frozen eggs, particularly if I want to try within the next three years.  My fertility wasn't that bad, and it could be I still could get pregnant naturally, so she said I should try that first.  Depending on my fertility numbers at the time, she also suggested I might want to try fresh IVF in the future and reserve the frozen eggs as the last resort.  She stressed that as a woman who doesn't know if she has fertility problems, I shouldn't compare myself to those who seek IVF because they already know.  She said I should try less invasive options first because I may not have fertility issues.  Of course, I'm conscious that my age works against me in this, but I understand what she's saying.  In fact two very good friends of mine who are my age now (39) both are pregnant naturally.  These things do happen.  I think being immersed in the infertility world can skew your perspective.

The clinic I used to freeze my eggs can help with sperm donation or with a future partner, or a known donor.  If I want to go down the sperm donor or known donor path in the future there are tests and counseling and paperwork to take care of and the clinic can help with all of that.

To be honest, that was pretty much it.  While she agreed that no frozen eggs was any sort of guarantee, she stressed to me that I don't know the quality of my frozen eggs.  That all it takes is the one.

And that was pretty much it with the doctor.

I then had a counseling appointment with the counselor I saw previously.  We talked about how I felt regarding 'putting everything to sleep' for now.  I talked about how I felt a sort of loss- like, you do all of this thinking about becoming a mother, and then there is no motherhood or even attempts at motherhood immediately following this process.  We talked about how that's hard.  About how when you start to open yourself, honesty and truly, to the idea of becoming a mother, and you decide that it's something you want, that it changes you.  That not becoming a mother, either just for now, or forever, is a sort of loss.  I talked about how I have thought about becoming a 'single mother by choice' and that I'm not convinced that I'll meet anyone with which to start a family in the next year or two (that I want to start a family with).  I talked about how I feel old, that many of my friends have children or are pregnant and that I feel somehow 'behind'.  She pointed out to me that you shouldn't have a child just because everyone else is doing it.  Which wasn't what I meant, but I think is important to reiterate.  It's more the frustration of seeing other people have what you want.  And when I feel 'behind' I guess what I'm really saying is that I feel deficient.

But anyway, that's more of a personal issue to address, and it's not solely related to motherhood, but I would suggest relationships in general.  The counselor did challenge me to consider why I was putting a 2-year framework in place.  That if I want to become a mother, why should I wait that long?  She had a point.  My main issue is that I want to be in a financially secure place, and mostly that I want a job where I will get good maternity coverage.  This means finishing the PhD and getting a permanent position.  If I stay in academia, a lot of jobs are contract and not permanent and this is a problem.  Not impossible, just something I feel I want to have sorted before undertaking what I imagine will be single parenthood.  But, if I get that job next year, then I suppose it's true- why should I wait?  I guess part of it is also an imagined time limit window on how long I'm willing to keep looking for 'the guy'.  That by deciding to just move forward, it's like saying I'm giving up on that.  I think this is something I need to continue to think about.  If I get the job, then maybe I should just move forward.  Watch this space.

And yes, speaking of which, so what does this mean for the blog now that I'm done for the time being?  Right now there are a lot of women considering, and undertaking, egg freezing.  But what about the future?  I imagine this blog is going to go to sleep for a while, but I will use it to post anything I come across that I think is relevant, add to the links on the right hand side, and I am happy to answer questions if anyone has them.  But I think when the time comes for me to use the eggs, I will come back here and update.  That may mean linking to a new blog, but I hope to eventually be able to post about how this story continues.

Otherwise... if you've come here to find information on egg freezing, I hope you find this blog helpful.  I encourage you to talk to other people, make use of the resources that are available to you.  I wish you the best in what can be a difficult and emotional process.  I think a lot of women come to this position, because they feel alone.  I suppose in one way, we are, but then, we aren't at all.  Good luck on your path.

12 November 2013

Final Costs

I went to the clinic today for my last follow up appointment.  I have more to say about that, but I thought I'd separate the posts.  This one is going to be about costs.

If you want to see all my posts documenting cost along the way, you can either click on the word cloud "cost" over to the right hand side, or, you can click here.

So here's the final breakdown:

Previous total cost for 2 cycles£10,481
Follow up Appointment£120
Drugs from Healthcare at Home £729
Egg Freezing Cycle£2800
Final Total £14,130

The doctor I saw today did not charge me for the follow up appointment.  I feel confident that if I'd seen either of the other two, they would have.  I'm not complaining.

With 13 eggs in the freezer, that's around £1,100 per frozen egg.  That's expensive.  I mean, that's really expensive, when you consider that one or two may not defrost, and I may not even get a baby from them.  Heck, I may not ever USE these eggs.

It's important to note that I have paid up front for 10 years storage.  If I don't use all 10 years, I should be refunded some amount for the years I don't use (maybe £800 back let's say?).  I also paid for blood tests and things that I might have been able to get done for free or for cheaper through my GP and not through the clinic (£250 or so?).  There was also the added expense of not knowing about Healthcare at Home for my first cycle, and the cost difference for that is explicitly documented in my post about Reducing Drug Costs (£1000 approximately).  

But here's the thing.  If the time comes in the future that I did want to have the option to use frozen eggs, would I regret this if I had NOT frozen my eggs.  100% absolutely.  

In the end it's only money.  Regrets are far more expensive.