Research – Risks and Rewards

So while I hurry up and wait for this year’s IF journey to begin, I have decided I should start taking matters into my own hands. I have been doing a bit more research on POF after radiation, just to see if I am being realistic here.

Risks

This site sets out the issues with conceiving and carrying a baby to term after having radiation. Of course, like all things factual, it is both hopeful and depressing at the same time:

An increased risk of miscarriage after cancer is only a concern for a small percent of patients who had radiation to their pelvic area or some fertility sparing gynecologic surgeries

Um. Pelvic radiation. Check.

Miscarriage, preterm delivery, and low birth weight infants are more common in women who received radiation to their uterus. A specialist can evaluate any damage to your uterus and help you determine whether it is safe for you to try to achieve pregnancy.

Check for damage to uterus…(ongoing) check.

As you may know, there are a number of long-term health risks associated with chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  Some of these risks, such as damage to your heart or lungs, may complicate your ability to carry a pregnancy or put your health at risk while you are pregnant.

As of last year I noticed a slightly elevated BP, and have slight asthma. Fan-frikin-tastic check.

I feel like I am about to fight a loosing battle, and I don’t know if I am convinced it is worth the risk. But then there is this:

Rewards

CHR, a clinic in New York, has a whole section on their website  that deals specifically with women with POF. Of course they are in the business of fertility so I do read their site with a grain of salt, but they have been doing some research in the area, so maybe they have some experience.

CHR physicians have demonstrated, and reported in the medical literature, remarkably good pregnancy results in women with even severe POA (with DHEA supplementation and proactive ovarian stimulation).

As already noted above, even in the best of hands, pregnancy in women with POF is a rare event, and most will end up having to use egg donation. CHR does offer experimental treatments to POF patients, but we usually recommend donor eggs as the treatment of choice.

They do seem to cater to those that are pursuing DE options. If anyone out there has used them or knows some more I would love to find out! They are not very clear on how much a DE cycle costs, but after poking around a bit it seems that it would cost around $20,000+ if I were to go with an anonymous donor from their bank. A quick search through their egg donor bank  shows about 6 south asian donors, but I notice that most of them are close to 30 years old, which makes me wonder if they will be as successful… expanding the search shows some more younger donors though. That being said, I think it is amazing what these women are willing to do and I really respect that.

At Hannam their site is equally wishy-washy and states that it could cost upto $15,000, and I would be supplying my own (sister’s) DE, which I am on the fence about as it is. I also am not sure about Dr. H’s experience with women with my particular brand of infertility. It seems I do have some unique challenges that I will be facing.

So I guess the questions I need to work on over the next few months are:

  • Can my uterus support a viable pregnancy?
  • Is my current RE experienced in post-radiation DE IVF?
  • Do I attempt DE IVF in Canada, cheaper but perhaps not ‘specializing’ in my kind of IF, or in the US, more expensive, but they might understand my body’s problems better?

I think I know the answer to the last one. In a perfect world I would go with the more experienced, more expensive clinic without blinking. Just need to get my finances in order.

And so the stars align.

So, as I am now mentally prepared to do this whole DE thing, we need to really consider the financial aspects of this. Correct me if I am wrong but realistically, I am looking at $25,000-ish for the process (if we are successful in one try) and then another $10,000 for the first year of baby’s life. That’s a good chunk of change. With one income (mine), and AG in med school (thankfully his parents are footing that bill), our resources are limited at best.

And then the stars aligned. We sold our house.

This is the long story that goes with it. My new job is now over an hour away from our old house, and only 15 minutes from my parents house. With AG being away at med school for the next few years (yes we still see each other, just sometimes its via Skype) we decided it didn’t make sense to keep the house with me alone in it. So I moved back home. We both get along well with the parents so it is actually pretty great. And I can actually focus on saving money since we have almost no bills! Love my parents! 🙂

The best part, which makes me believe a bit in fate, is that the house is owned by us free and clear. (AG’s parent’s gift to him when he moved out east was to buy him a place, which we sold and bought this place). No mortgage. Perfect. So now we have minimal bills, a place to stay, people to babysit (should that time ever come), and a nest egg we can dip into for DE! Yes, we will have to top it up eventually when we do buy a place but thankfully there is no rush for that just yet. But I think the universe is working in my favour….for now.

I have also started reading: The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis.

I never thought I could treat my condition with eastern medicine. But now I am an open minded skeptic. Deep down I do wish that a little bit of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) could cure me, but I know that is a fantasy. I am starting to believe that it will help me get healthy enough to perhaps carry a child with DE. So lets see! Also coming up will be Making Babies by Sami S. David

(Oh yes and I have $500 per year in benefits I can use towards naturopathic medicine, and a total of $15,000 in IF drugs that my health insurance through work will cover! Serious celestial alignment happening here!) This is making me very happy. Now to find a naturopath that can help…

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