Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sarah Silverman

This is just for fun.
The Sarah Silverman Program is a new show on Comedy Central. It premiers on 2/1 at 10:30 est. For a preview click >here!

If you saw the film Jesus is Magic you know what I am talking about.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Counting the chicks before they are hatched

Many "ifs" in the planning of the donor egg cycle but here is what we are discussing at the moment:

Start Lupron approximately March 17th
Embryos on board Around April 5th
Due Date (40 weeks) December 26th

Am I getting a little ahead of myself? I love to think about these types of details. The truth is that we haven't done the official cycle calendar yet but this is sort of what it's looking like.

But there are many, many "ifs"

Monday, January 29, 2007

US state considers legislation that would forbid anonymous sperm and egg donors

US state considers legislation that would forbid anonymous sperm and egg donors International Herald Tribune 1/29/2007

Bill would end anonymity of future sperm donors
By Dena Potter
Washington Times

I saw this coming, thank you state of Virginia. I knew that with all those articles in the Washington DC papers in the last few months something like this was bound to happen.

Katrina Clark who is the impetus behind the bill in the Virginia legislature published an Op-Ed in the Washington Post Sunday Outlook section in December, 2006. I just knew this was going to become fodder for the Right-Wing - and sure enough, here it is it. She is an angry 18 year-old who feels ripped off because she will never know her father. And now she is being used to kick-off what might become a nasty, nasty political battle in the states and beyond.

I am glad that I found a new donor. Very troubling.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Benefits of a Small Clinic - Donor Update

I am back from my clinic and the donor is a really good match. My coloring - with a scottish/german twist.

We can say good bye to the big jewish nose (although B* is also well endowed in this category even though he is really not Jewish).

But this looks like she might be the one! They have promised to reserve her for me and to get her going on the birth control pills in the next week or so.

Now I just need to find out exactly when B* will be back in the states so we can put the calendar together. WE are probably looking at retrieval at the end of March early April - which at the moment feels very far away!

The Benefits of a Small Clinic

Waiting in my mailbox last night when I arrived home was the profile of the donor my clinic mentioned earlier in the week. The Donor Coordinator decided to mail it to me for review even though they are still waiting for the final clearances on the psych evaluation.

The coloring is spot on - red hair (Me: natural redhead in childhood, enhanced in adulthood), green eyes (me: hazel), fair complexion - yes.

Her interests: politics, creative writing, animals/pets - this is me too!

She is pursuing graduate studies in political science(which means she could be a student at the University where I work).

She was born in 1977. The year I got my first period!! kismet :)

The one incongruancy - she is 5'3" and I am 5'7 1/2" but in the scheme of things this is not a deal breaker. Tall is better (B* is also a shrimpo at 5'8" on a very tall day) but I believe that each generation gets successively taller and the donor's brother is 6'2" so there is a tall gene in there somewhere.

I emailed Donor Coordinator this morning and will swing by this afternoon to check out the photo. She is working with 15 couples right now but thought of me as soon as she met this young woman - THIS is the BENEFIT of a SMALL CLINIC!!

I am quite excited and will provide an update later today!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Shared Donor Program .. And in other news

Since I am not going to this clinic I think it is fair to out them. Shady Grove Fertility has just produced this new brochure promoting their shared donor program.

I can't put my finger on it but it gives me the willies - I little too factory-like for my taste. And the prices!!!! See for yourself.

And in other news...I talked to my donor coordinator and she thinks she may have find me a good donor candidate (they are no longer working with Utah). She said she got a good vibe and her coloring is a good match. She has to get through the psych eval and a few other tests - but I should know by the end of next week.

My clinic is running radio ads for donors and in the last 2 weeks have had 15 inquiries - so things are picking up. I asked the donor coordinator where their were running the ads since I have not heard them - clearly, they are not on NPR .

Switching Anti-Depressants - Update

I went back to the dope doctor on Friday and she proposed that we get me off the Effexor and onto the much more baby friendly Zoloft. The doc also recommended 2000 mcg of Omega-3 to enhance the effect of the meds (I will do a separate post on this later - it's actually quite interesting stuff).

Apparently Effexor has significant withdrawl symptoms - how would I know, I've been on it for nearly 10 years. These sides effects would be experienced by the newborn, which is why this is not a good drug for pregnant or nursing moms.

"Wyeth-Ayerst, the manufacturer of effexor and effexor xr, did a survey of all the patients in the clinical trial's testing program. According to their method of counting, 35% of the Effexor patients experienced withdrawal symptoms ranging from a flu-like syndrome to insomnia, nausea, nervousness, and loss of energy. Also, from the FDA medical products reporting program, the list of withdrawal symptoms from effexor include:

agitation, anorexia, anxiety, confusion, coordination impaired, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, dysphoric mood, fasciculation, fatigue, headaches, hypomania, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, sensory disturbances (including shock-like electrical sensations), somnolence, sweating, tremor, vertigo, and vomiting. "

As we ween me off the Effexor ever so slowly I will also be ramping up on the Zoloft. I took Zoloft in the early 90's but eventually switched to Effexor to better address my anxiety.

So now I am swapping the devil I know for the devil I use to know.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

BIG QUESTION: Should I Change Clinics? Part 2

I called the Very Large Clinic and left 2 messages and finally reached a human on the 3rd attempt.

Here is what I found out:
1. Large Clinic has raised its prices and is in fact more exspensive than my current RE (small clinic). $27,000 for one DE cycle !!! Most woman do shared cycles which lowers the cost. hmmmmm....

2. Large Clinic currently has 30 currently available donors - but not all are available for single recipient cycle (donors who are known to produce 20 follicles have been designated for shared use - up to 3 recipients in one cycle!!!)

3. Large Clinic does 400 donor egg procedures annually - and there are 60 women cycling as we speak!!!!!

Needless to say, I do no think this is the right course of action for me. I want someone who is actually going to read my file and know who I am - with 60 women cycling at anyone time (just in the donor egg program - forget about IVF) how can 18 doctors possibly be able to keep it all straight?

Given the current options I am going to ride it out a little longer and see if my RE finds a donor for me. I would rather pay the extra money to a donor agency and bring my own donor to my RE and get the hand holding I need, instead of giving it to large clinic who will never be able to remember my name.

That's the current thinking - thanks to everyone who posted a comment, it all helps me to process through this stuff.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Too Good to be True, WHO looks like this 9 months pregnant?

WHO Looks like this 9 months Pregnant?

Call this my fantasy pregnancy. Here is the interview with Brooke Burke in FitPregnancy

BIG QUESTION: Should I Change Clinics?

The BIG QUESTION - should I change clinics?

As I have mentioned, my RE's office currenlty does not have a donor for me - this thing with Utah is turning into a complete failure for them, and there are three other couples ready to cycle now and they don't have donors for them. Not good.

My options: There is a very large and very well known clinic in DC Metro Area that has a stellar reputation and an active donor pool.

Downside: it is a large clinic - not small and personal like the one I have been going to.

Upside: Large donor pool, less expensive (about 4k less) and they have a shared risk program.

I just called a friend of mine who opted for my current RE over this Large Clinic and she said that if it's cheaper it's worth checking out. She has a friend who went there and was really pleased with the service and now has 2 little tots.

This could delay the process - or not, given that my clinic has such a small pool who knows how long it will take. Yesterday the donor coordinator gave me the names of two donor egg agencies - but going that route will cost an additional $6k bringing the total up to $30,000 - which is a very unappealing option at the moment.

This is just not easy... any advice?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pursuing A Baby to the Ends of the Earth

This week's Washington Post Sunday Magazine has an article about a couple's journey to South Africa in pursuit of Donor Egg. The article Pursuing a Baby to the Ends of the Earth by Suz Redfearn discusses the new Reproductive Tourism.

It is also a reminder that there are never any guarantees...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Seeking Mental Wellness

Yesterday I went to see my new Psychopharmocologist. Her specialty is pregnancy and post-partum. I had a sneaking suspicion I was in the right place when I spotted a picture of newborn twins in the lobby who shared a similar last name to my new psychiatrist.

It turns out that she is around my age (give or take) and pursued surrogacy for her son and IVF for her recent twins - so she gets it - the whole journey.

We spent 1 1/2 hours discussing my personal history, the last year with infertility and menopause and my experiences on and off hormones and related depression episode. We will be meeting again the end of next week after she is able to review my files from my previous psychiatrist to come up with a course of action.

Her preliminary recommendation: I am not a candidate for going off the SSRI depressants during pregancy. We should consider trying to move me on to a class 1 drug where more research exists as to effect on pregancy (like zoloft). She thinks that the toughest time for me (vis a vie mental state) will be while I am on Lupron pre-pregnancy (assuming that my RE decides that I need to be suppressed) and she is not concerned that the progesterone suppositories will cause any emotional side effects.

So this all feels like a relief. The only anxiety trigger in my meeting with her was her comment about her own pregnancy - she was on bedrest from 24 weeks on and she said she does not recommend it for anyone, meaning that having twins is not a great way to go given what it can do to you. Oy oy oy.

Now, let's get that goddamn donor confirmed!!! onward!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Children of Men

If you are an infertile this movie hits close to home. Children of Men takes place 20 years in the future - there are no babies and civilization is grinding to a hault. The playgrounds are empty and the elementary schools are abandoned buildings.

The movie (and the book) suggests that without children, there is no hope and no future - no purpose. Quite a powerful message particularly for someone dealing with infertility.

The film has left me feeling unsettled with questions that I can't really answer.

Do we all need to procreate to perpetuate civilization?

Have I been chosen not to perpetuate my gene pool as part of some larger master plan?

Do children represent the hope of a better future?

What kind of society will our children inherit, and is that something they deserve to be thrust into?

Utah Donor May Not Pan Out

Just spoke with the DE Coordinator and they are still having problems coordinating with the Utah clinic. Two other couples are also waiting for the Utah clinic to respond because they want to start cycling now. It doesn't appear that the clinic is properly staffed to deal with all this East Coast demand.

I am not hopeful that things with the Utah clinic will improve - I told the DE coordinator to get on a plane and go out there to figure out what it going on and to assess the viability of the partnership.

In the meantime my RE's office goes on the air today with an aggressive media buy to recruit new donors. I am hoping that my donor prospect situation will be resolved by early February. Sigh.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

BRAVE New World? Embryo Bank Stirs Ethics Fears

'Embryo Bank' Stirs Ethics Fears
Firm Lets Clients Pick Among Fertilized Eggs

Washington Post 1/06/07

The latest in the exploitation of the Donor Egg trade is on the front page of Saturday's Washington Post. The Abraham Center of Life, based in San Antonio, TX, is the first commercial dealer making embryos in advanced for unspecified recipients. The goal, they claim is to make it more affordable for more people, embryos cost $2500. One batch of 22 embryos, created using genetically fit donors, were sold in batches of two to several different couples.

The fact is that donor egg, embryo and adopted embryo is a field that is ripe for abuse - there are no laws and cash is king.

But what about the people who want to be parents? The article quotes a woman who has already been through three failed donor attempts but refuses to stop trying.

Personally, my greatest fear is that they will make it illegal in the US before I can start my donor egg cycle. All this controversy just gives me a greater sense of urgency.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Adelaide, AU - Quaint City

The RE has determined that labs from Australia are A-Ok. B* is actually not in Sydney (despite the photo), he is based in Adelaide which he describes as quaint, easy to get around and about 20 years behind.

Some of my favorites of his Adelaide observations:

-grocery store is in the basement of the Woolworths
-Everything is much smaller scale- not oversized like the US
-there is a Target and an Ikea(important brands in our household)
-He ate sushi that came around on a little train
-People are very laid back

Me, I go home every night and deal with the demands of 4 dogs. The other night the boys (dogs) went out in the back and started howling at the moon. B* said that dogs do this when a member of their pack is missing and thought to be dead. He was concerned that the dogs think he is dead.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Okay, B* is gone and I need something to fill my time for the next two months. I am starting this fitjournal so I can obsess about my health and fitness - and lose 10lbs before I see him in March.

It's kind of interesting and it will hold me accountable. I placed it on my sidebar for public access - yikes! - my public journal

I Need More Worry Beads

I never seem to have enough Worry Beads - I am always looking for new ways to worry about things that I can do nothing about in real time.

New worries:
1. Progesterone will make me suicidally depressed.
Given my bad performance on HRT that included progesterone (in contrast to my performance just on estrogen (vivelle patch) I am very worried about taking prometrium as part of the DE IVF treatment. I mentioned in a previous post that I am seeing a psycho pharmacologist next week and plan to discuss this with her. In the meantime I printed out all the prescribing info and have been studying the differences in molecular structure of prometrium and FemHRT (like I know what I am looking at with my BA in political science - nuts I know).

2. FDA Has Strict Requirements for Screening Tissue Donations.
The FDA 2 years ago issued some very stringent standards on tissue donation. Donors have to have a battery of tests before being cleared. B* hasn't had his tests done yet and is now in Australia. He plans to go next week and get all the bloodwork done but based on my examination of the regulations and guidelines I don't think that an Australian lab will be considered valid in the states. Now granted that we won't be collecting the sample until he is back this may not be a big deal. But it is something else for me to worry about.

3. Donor 124 is in Africa until February
We can't reach donor #124 because she is in Africa for the month. Although she has expressed interest in working with us we haven't confirmed and will probably not be able to until she is back from her trip. I just hope she doesn't decide that she is too busy studying for the MCAT to go through with this. The DE coordinator assured me that we have plenty of time to find someone else if this doesn't work out. Just another unknown to worry about.

see for yourself and let me know what you think:
A. Who may perform donor testing?
Required testing must be performed by a laboratory: (1) certified to perform such testing on human specimens under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (42 U.S.C. 263a) and 42 CFR part 493; or (2) meeting equivalent requirements as determined by CMS in accordance with those provisions (§ 1271.80(c)). Examples of the latter include Veterans Administration hospital laboratories, laboratories in states that have received exemptions from CMS, and laboratories that have been accredited by organizations approved by CMS.