Friday, September 23, 2011

Playing the Odds

I am not a gambler.  I've been to Vegas twice and gambled (lost) all of $101.00.   My first trip was for a bachelorette party in 2002, I gave myself $100 to play with.... and my second trip was for a wedding in 2008... I didn't gamble at all until I was at the airport with a friend ready to board the plane home, it was $1 slot machine.  And the rest of what happened in Vegas, stays in Vegas!!!

I think I don't gamble for two reasons.... I'm not good at math.  Seriously, I think I have a learning disability when it comes to math because when I try to calculate numbers in my head it's like there is a physical block, calculating in my head is a huge effort.  Secondly, I don't understand/trust gambling.  My parents don't live far from an Indian Casino and my mom likes to go play the slots (which are all automated/digital).  Mom always walks out with winnings of $25 - $50.  When I go with her rarely I will lose $10 (that's all I allow myself to play on the 25 cent slots).

Where am I going with the gambling references???

I had my regroup with Dr. Sur.ry late today.  I've noticed that I've gotten anxious about this regroup this week.  Especially as I received updates on test results from my nurse.  I broke down a couple of weeks ago when she called with my AMH  (0.2).  It's not just low, it's extremely low.

Now that all of my test results are in...  while I have so much good going for me (FSH 9, good estrogen, LH & uterine blood flow, I have the Beta3 Integrin protein), I have a couple of big items that are not so good... AMH (anything under 1.5 is considered low) and my AFC (follicle count) during my CCRM ODWU was 5.

The doctor and I talked about a lot of things but my primary question after all of the facts & details was... what are my chances of success with a cycle at CCRM?  

Courtesy of Google Images
I've been considering this question all week.  I've been asking myself what my threshold would be for his response as I consider moving to donor eggs.  10% or lower... that's easy.  15%, still pretty easy.  I went up to about 30% in my thinking... while not really setting any formal limit overall.

So Dr. S said that their success rates with women my age are about 40%.  However when you factor in my AMH & AFC he would put my odds at 25%.

A 25% chance of success at one of the best clinics in the world.  Ouch (understatement).

While this is unwelcome news, it's not surprising news.  This week I really geared myself up for moving to donor eggs.  I joined PVED (Parents via Egg Donation) to help connect with others who have been through this decision, I made an appointment with my IF shrink who I've not seen since January.  I contacted the DE coordinator at my local clinic to inquire where I am on their wait list.  She can begin working to match me now, those in front of me on the list are not ready to move forward yet.

While I think that my decision is obvious... (put $15k on 25% odds vs $12 - $15k  on 75% odds?)  I'm still working through it.  I've had a lot of tears since my call with Dr. Su.rry.  I'm the kind of person who has to retreat and process.

I did text my mom with a summary of the stats (not ready to talk about it yet).  Her response set about another round of happy tears... she said: Thankfully in this day & time--donor eggs are available & you CAN still have a baby!! Any baby you have, you & all of us will love deeply & forever!

Note of consideration:  If we know each other IRL, please be considerate and keep my story to yourself.  I am still processing how I will approach parenting via DE.  While I know I will be open about DE with my child from a very early age, my biggest concern is the judgement (and sometimes cruelty) from others who don't understand.  Until I can develop my approach, I appreciate your discretion.


  1. BB, I was almost exactly where you were a year ago, trying to decide if I should do IVF at another clinic, DE at another clinic, or DE locally as my next big move. An astonishingly hard decision--and a very personal one. The numbers give an obvious answer; the heart does not.

    I can't/won't tell you what's right for you here. What I decided, in the end, was that I didn't need to know anymore the WHY of why I wasn't getting pregnant, and it didn't matter whether it was my eggs or anything else: all that mattered was the quickest/surest way of having a baby. Honestly, I will always wonder what would have happened if I'd done just one more cycle...but I have no regrets, and I am so eager to meet this little boy, who is unquestionably MY son, in a couple months. DE gave me my life back...

    Please feel free to email me if you want to work through any of this. It was a LONG process for me to decide (really a year since my RE first recommended it).

    Thinking of you.

  2. When I first was thinking about all of this, I put such stock in biology. I only wanted to have my OWN kids. 1.5 years and 2 pregnancy losses later, my outlook is so changed, and all for the better. I'm so much older and wiser, in such a short time.

    My not-easy journey has given me this take home message: be open to any road to have your child. The baby you end up having, is the child you were MEANT to have. Biology is immaterial. It is fine that you are going for donor eggs- if that is how the soul meant for you is supposed to come to you, then that is how it will be.

    Your moms response was just lovely.

  3. I agree with you on keeping quiet on the donor egg front. I did some reading and figured it isn't really my story to tell but my childs. At least for now, only a very few people in my family know I'm going down that road.

  4. You are going through exactly what I went through when I got my low test results. Mom is right, the stats are on your side with donor eggs. Take your time, grieve your own dna, process everything and know that miracles are really possible.

  5. I really is a hard decision that you have to make with your heart. You have such an awesome mom and I know you are going to make such an awesome mom. If you need to "talk" you can email me

  6. BB, I have tears in my eyes reading this post - especially what your mom wrote to you.

    No matter which route you take, I truly believe you will be a mom. And after following you on your journey, I believe you know that too.

    Trust your heart and Double Down!!

  7. Such a tough decision. I wish you peace in whatever you decide - only you know what's right for you at this point.

  8. Just a few thoughts - I totally understand why you might want to keep DE private - some people can be So judgmental / full of their own emotional crap.
    Also it was my impression that Dr S was very understated / conservative in his estimations of success with me - and I really liked this about him. Please remember that AMH level although currently the best indicator of fertility is only 70% predictive in someone's ability to get pregnant. People with nearly non existent AMH do get pregnant all the time.
    In addition Antral follicle count can change from one cycle to the next - as it did with me - I went from 5 or 6 to nearly 13 in just a few months (I credit the Co Q 10).
    Anyway I just want you to know that whatever decision you make will definitely be the right one - and I totally understand your wish to get the ball rolling in a favorable direction.
    I know you will be a superb mother.

  9. I have been following your blog and your journey. What ever you decided I think you will be a great mom. My friend adopted a child. He was four days old when she got him. She couldn't love that baby any more even if he came from her.

  10. Your mom's response brought tears to my eyes. In the midst of this difficult decision, it must help a lot to know you have her support with whatever you decide. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you work your way through this - I know you are going to be a wonderful mom!

  11. We also have been considering DE and EA. Most likely we'll end up going EA, embryo adoption. But we are still going to give this IVF cycle a chance.

    I'm so glad that your mom is supportive of your decisions. Good Luck!

  12. This is an extremely difficult decision! I certainly know that we all want to experience pregnancy and have our own biological child. I will tell you, though, that after going through much of the agonizing decision making that you are going through (I ended up using two different donors for my kids but was able to use my own eggs even after my doctor told me to give up), the child will be wonderful. Whether it is from your own egg or from a DE, it is YOUR child and you will love it just as much either way. As for the explaining and the possible teasing as they get older - other kids have been surprisingly accepting of my kids' situation. Maybe their not old enough yet to got through the teasing, but I have found that the other kids just really don't care about my kids' origins. And, since I have been very honest with my kids about it since day one, they are very comfortable with who they are. You will do great.

  13. Your mom's response made me cry, too. I haven't told my mom that we're doing DE because I'm afraid of her reaction. I mentioned once, years ago, that the Dr had mentioned DE as an option, and she got very quiet and tersely changed the subject, which is her way of showing disapproval. So I haven't brought it up again. I'll tell her eventually but maybe not until after she's already fallen in love with her grandchild.


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