Blog about having premature ovarian failure and trying donor IVF with my sister's eggs

Archive for the ‘Embryo transfer’ Category

An unnnatural conception – and delivery

Like the clouds from this spray can, my pregnancy is completely manufacturered and quite magical

The only thing unmanufactured about my pregnancy is my pregnancy itself, which explains in part why I am expecting to have a cesarean delivery.

The conception of our baby was entirely aided by synthetic hormones and IVF. I took oestrogen to thicken up my womb in readiness for the wee embryo I received in June, while my sister took drugs to stimulate her ovaries and release her eggs to donate to me. During the conception period, I filled myself with progesterone pessaries to create a welcoming environment for the embryo to settle into, and hey presto, after lots of manufacturing and unnaturalness, we have a pregnancy!

The pregnancy itself is chugging along nicely without any drugs – my placenta has now taken over that role. So that is natural and normal.

I love that something so fantastic can come out of something so manufactured – it makes me feel very borg-like and connected to the future. I am eternally grateful to have the science available to us to be able to create life within us – to me it is a real crossover between science and magic.

So why not continue the artificiality with a cesarean – it only seems natural (!).

My obstetrician brought up the subject of delivery on our last visit, saying that given this could be our only baby, we should consider a cesarean to avoid any potential birthing complications. And having watched several knuckle-biting episodes of One Born Every Minute, I’m very happy to accede to his recommendation!


My sister – aunty first and egg donor second

My sister's gift of her eggs are what made it possible for us to be pregnant now.

Our families overseas are already making plans to come and stay with us after our baby is born, although my sister says she doesn’t want any special treatment, even though she is our egg donor.

My sister’s help is what made it possible for us to conceive – we wouldn’t be pregnant without her eggs. I would therefore really like for her to come visit as soon as possible after our baby arrives. I mentioned it to her on the phone the other day, and she said she would love to come visit. But she also reminded me of our arrangement – that she is the egg donor only and doesn’t want to be treated any differently from my other siblings.

It startled me a little me when she said this, but then I was grateful for her outlook. That was always the understanding – that she will be the aunty first and the egg donor second. That her being the egg donor wouldn’t give her any special standing with our child. I love that she has this outlook. It gives us the freedom to be the parents of our baby without worrying that my sister wants to assume any type of role with him/her other than being his/her aunty.

Those good ol’ (young) eggs of my sister’s

Janis Joplin,  Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Michael Hutchence are forever frozen in time at the ages at which they died. Forever young.

Similarly and fantastically, the embryos made of my sister’s eggs and my husband’s sperm are frozen in time too – they will always be embryos made from two people in their mid 30s.

So, even though I am knocking 42, the little embryo inside me is seven years younger. Apparently the chances of my pregnancy continuing with embryos this youthful are around 95% – (touch lots of wood).  If the embryos were made of my eggs, it would be a different story with a much higher chance of miscarriage.

Even so, every time I go to the loo I brace myself in case I see blood but to date (apart from the first bit of spotting a few weeks ago which the doc put down to the progesterone pessaries I take) there has been nothing. I am now 7.5 weeks – still early days but further than we have ever been before.

If we are lucky enough to have this child and decide to try again for another baby at some in future with our remaining five embryos, they will still be frozen in time at around 35 years old. How brilliant is that?

I love the miracle of IVF plus of course the wonderful benevolence of my sister and brother in law who have allowed for this dream of ours to gradually be coming true.



I didn’t want to find out the results of my pregnancy test while I was at work last Friday, so my husband said he would take the call from the fertility clinic.

I asked him not to call me either way once he knew, so I wouldn’t know if it was negative or positive until I got to the safety of home that night. We didn’t have any contact that day, apart from me calling him in the morning to let him know I’d had the blood test.  Then just before I left work that night, I called him again, to let him know I was on my way.

I tried to guage from the tone of his voice if the result was positive or not. But I couldn’t tell. Because of that I presumed the test was negative. I then cried and cried and cried all the way home. There was some music on the radio by a band I had never heard of before called the ‘The Unthanks’ who recently played at the Sydney Folk Festival. They are a northern UK folk band and their music was so sweet it made me cry even more. I cried for my husband and me and everyone who so badly wants a baby and has so many problems conceiving.

By the time I got home my eyes were red and puffy and stinging from the salt of my tears. My husband met me at the door and led me into the bedroom and sat me down on the bed where there was a bunch of flowers. I thought the flowers were out of commiseration. Then he told me the test was positive! I couldn’t believe it!

I had my follow up blood test today which confirmed I am definitely pregnant. So we are over the moon. But cautiously so, given that we lost our first pregnancy. But for the time being, I am treasuring this feeling, this wonderful feeling.


Are we there yet? On the home straight to test

This Friday we find out if we are pregnant following our last embryo transfer.

Since then, I have had two rounds of acupuncture, been to the osteopath to get my back fixed, ditched the nightly whiskys (but not the chocolate) and have being doing my ashtanga yoga with no vinyasas (jump throughs and jump backs), and no ujjayi breath. This is because both, especially the breathing, work to heat up the body like an internal pressure cooker, which is NOT what we want for our little embryo. We don’t want to pressure cook it – instead we want it to settle into my womb lining, lie back and have a nice long sleep for while fattening up into a healthy wee baby.

I’ve been trying not to think about it, but have noticed some subtle changes to my body, just like I felt the first (and only) time I was pregnant. For instance, my left boob is a little more tender than usual and I am feeling a bit sick – a bit like I am hungover. I also have a slight feeling you get if you stop yourself weeing mid stream. Last time I had a tweaking feeling but this time it is a ‘mid stream’ feeling.

It’s no doubt way too early to be feeling any symptoms but I can’t help zoning in on them, hoping, really hoping that it has worked this time.


Infertility journey finally ends via surrogacy

Many of us travel a long road before we realise our dream to have a baby. Some of us never make it, while others pull out all stops to get there. The following outlines what can happen if you are persistent and have the resources to be able to make it happen.

My husband’s workmate in Melbourne, Australia has just had her own biological child  – to a surrogate in California, USA.

Ann-Lee and her husband left Melbourne last week for the birth of their biological child in California. By now their baby will have been born. I keep imagining how amazing and exciting it must be for them.

Using a surrogate followed six years of unsuccessful IVF which included 17+ embryo transfers for the couple.

Finally coming to terms with the fact they could not carry a baby themselves, they travelled to the US to find a surrogate as the practice is a common there and is legislated for, to protect the surrogate, the child and the parents.

They decided not to try it in Australia.  A surrogate cannot be paid, so surrogates carry babies out the goodness of their hearts. When the baby is born, the parents have to adopt the child, even if the embryo was biologically theirs’.  There is also the chance that a surrogate could change her mind and not want to part with the baby, causing horrible distress for all parties.

Recent developments in Australia are threatening to confound things further.  The NSW state government is about to pass a law which will prevent Australian couples being able to travel overseas to use surrogates. Apparently it is to protect vulnerable third-world women. But in listening to a recent radio program (link below), it appears that most surrogates are educated, well informed and wealthy women acting out of altruism.

I really wish that the NSW Government was a little more forward thinking, as passing this law will hamper the dreams of NSW infertiles wishing to use surrogacy. I really hope it doesn’t set a precedent for other states to follow suit.

Making the process illegal also casts a shadow over the way surrogate babies to date have been conceived. Anne-Lee and her husband’s baby was conceived out of love and determination. My view is that the baby’s conception is unique and something to be proud of – not something to be mired in covert illicitness.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and what the arrangements are in your country, if you know.

If you want to read a bit more about Anne-Lee and her husband, there is an online article below:

If you want to listen to the radio show I mentioned earlier, which includes an interview with an American attorney specialising in this area of family law, go to the link below:


Our beautiful, beautiful embryo

Our eight-cell embryo looked like this when we saw it on the tv screen just before the transfer - described as 'beautiful, beautiful' by the embryologist - which is hopefully a good omen!

“Beautiful, beautiful embryo,” declared the embryologist as she handed our embryo to the doctor before he transferred it to me.

How nice is that? Our doctor said it was “alive and kicking” as it had divided into eight cells since it was thawed as a four-cell embryo. We saw it on the tv screen on the wall as the embryologist focussed on it before sucking it up into the skinny transfer device.

My husband and I swelled with pride and anticipation – perhaps this is a good sign? Our previous two embryos, which didn’t work, have both been four cells at the time of transfer. Maybe this one is going to be robust and strong and grow into a lovely fat little baby.

Our doc then went on to say that of course, it doesn’t matter what the embryo looks like at the time of the transfer. He said that ugly embryos can grow into beautiful babies, telling us that he had in the past transferred some dodgy looking embryos which have now resulted in beautiful looking kids.

We joshed along, wondering if our beautiful embryo could grow into an ugly kid (?!)

We would love our child whether it was ugly or beautiful – for the time though, we are taking pride in knowing we can at least produce a beautiful looking embryo!

Roll on the two week test….for now though, it’s time to take it easy, put my feet up and watch another episode of the brilliant Game of Thrones. Have you seen it?