Monday, June 04, 2007

Shriveled eggs?

So, a confluence of events now has me convinced that my eggs are shriveling up and that THAT is our problem.

You see, it all started quite simply. I got into work (after sitting in traffic going to my b/w and u/s) and was reading up on a few blogs. And I surfed over to The Oneliner and read her post from this morning in which she describes how her new RE tells her that unexplained infertility is just code for bad eggs.

So, I panic a bit. We are unexplained, after all…

Then I get my CD2 bloodwork back from my Smirky’s office—FSH = 7.4, E2 = 75. The FSH is fine, but the E2 is borderline high, which can mask a higher FSH level, I hear.

This causes my panic to grow.

Then, I turn to Dr. Google, who, as you know, does nothing but confirm all of our worst nightmares. (Bastard.)

So, now I’m convinced that my eggs are l’il old ladies and that the ‘ol biological clock is ticking at much more astonishing rate than I previously realized—like that maybe waiting until July for retrieval is really a dicey option and couldn't we just do it tomorrow?

Okay, I’m exaggerating a little…but still. It puts a new spin on the IVF thing, let me tell you!

So, assvice welcome—can anybody more knowledgeable about FSH and E2 levels tell me if this is something I should be concerned about? (I’ll obviously ask Smirky when I see him Thursday as well, but I could use any and all perspective you have to offer as well…)

Oh, and to add another layer of complexity to our IVF struggle, I found out the other day that my company is switching insurance providers on July 1. Yeah, that would be smack in the MIDDLE of our IVF cycle. And, with my current provider we were lucky enough to have IVF fully covered with Smirky. With my new provider, Smirky will be “out of network.” The difference? Several thousand dollars in unexpected out of pocket expenses for hubby and me. Aces. Thanks, boss!*

In other (better) news, I got myself back on the treadmill today. I’m trying a run/walk combo in an effort to build my endurance back up. It ain’t easy, but I feel good about doing it. (Well, except at that point on the treadmill where it feels like I might collapse.)

*Please understand that I do realize how lucky we are to have any IF coverage. Actually, it’s a law in my state—insurance providers have to cover 3 IUIs, 2 IVFs and three ovulation induction cycles for women under 40. Something all states should cover, at a minimum, if you ask me…


Laura, the (reluctant) baroness said...

There are so many things that can affect fertility, that I really don't think "unexplained" means "bad eggs." I think its a gross overstatement. I can't (and therefore shouldn't) comment on your labs, but remain optimistic that your eggs are not shriveling.

Sorry about the insurance change - that's crappy. However, I'm now madly in love with your state government. My state SUCKS!

The Oneliner (Christina) said...

oh i am so SORRY that i've caused you to fret. She said that to explain our unexplained infertility. One, we've had EVERYTHING including our DNA checked. And, she also said that IVF fixes bad egg situations. Because everyone has a good egg now and then. Which is why she also said that we'll get pg...just not on our own.

Amy said...

That STINKS about your insurance woes. UGH. It would have been nice if they could've given a bit more notice. I wonder if you could ask your HR dept to 'delay' the processing so you could at least finish this cycle fully covered?

Hope the workout challenge is going well for you! I missed my aerobic workout today unfortunately :( But maybe its a blessing in disguise because I did the calf machine yesterday and have barely been able to walk today.

Leah said...

Unfortunately I have learned lots about high FSH and all the trimmings that go with it. From what I know, even though a high E2 number might a slight indication of an artificially low FSH, I've been told it's nothing to panic about. An FSH of 7.4 is still considered very good.

There are many other things you can do... the Clomid Challenge test will really give you some good insight into what is going on with your FSH. You may have done this already, but if not you can either email me or confer with Dr. Google to get more info.

Also, many places check for both FSH and Inhibin-B. FSH is an indicator of the *number* of eggs remaining, while Inhibin-B is an indicator of the *quality* of eggs remaining. Most REs just check FSH, but you can request an Inhibin-B test as well.

Lastly, even those of us with "bad eggs" (yeah, that's me) can still go on to have healthy babies and successful IVF cycle. I haven't achieved both of those yet, but have come awfully close.

If you want to chat more, please don't hesitate to email me at

Cece said...


Nothing good comes from googling. I bet you could google 'infertilty and left handedness' and find some study that said left handed people are less fertile than right handed people.

Sarah said...

before my ivf cycle i was convinced i had declining egg quality. i had two freakishly short cycles in a row. i know this can be a sign of diminishing ovarian reserve so i totally freaked out, cried for days that my chances were over at that i totally blew it by taking a year off. maybe egg quality/quantity was part of my problem, who knows? but i responded fine to the stims, they got 18 eggs, and then we found out about the fert. problem, so i know i would never get pg on my own anyway. i'm w/ the oneliner on this. being unexpliained sucks, but it's better than having a reason that is harder to address with IVF.

Ms. Planner said...

Hi Sticky, I do the same thing, too. I hear about something and think, what if that is my problem as well?

At my RE's, an FSH under 13 is considered good for IVF. Anything over and they want you to use an egg donor. And Leah is correct, the Clomid Challenge Test, which it sounds like you have received, measures ovarian reserve, not ovarian quality. Thanks for the beta on the Inhibin-B test, Leah!

When the quality of eggs may be an issue, my RE uses preimplantation genetic diagnosis to test for chromosonal abnormalities when selecting the fertilized eggs. I think Watson wrote about this and I recently found the blog of the West Coast RE clinic who specializes in PGD and will post it on my blog today. Knowing your philosophy about this, however, you may want to thoroughly discuss this procedure with your doctor.

Best of luck and I am sorry about your insurance. My hunch is that the extra couple of large will be worth it in the end. :)

xoxo, Ms. Planner

Reproductive Jeans said...

Uugg what crappy news about the insurance! What an inconvenient time!
I dont have much wisdom on the levels department--and I have been trying to stay away from Dr. Hell (Google) as long as possible=) Im sure your eggs are just peachy!

Erin said...

I agree with most folks that you shouldn't rely too heavily on Dr. Google and start panicking...yet. (I will now refer to myself as the pot calling the kettle black.)

HOWEVER bad huevos is a problem that needs attention quickly, so if it is that, you're right to want to be prepared. Have you done the Clomid Challenge Test? Where they test your FSH on Day 3 and Day 10 w/ clomid in between? That's how my current RE diagnosed me w/ the withered old lady insides. My Day 3 FSH was normal, but on Day 10 it was high (13.7), meaning that my body was still trying to kick out eggs that probably weren't there. He said that quality and quantity go pretty much hand in hand, and the results of my IVF proved him right. Bastard.

From my own experience, I wish I'd considered egg quality as a potential issue WAY back when. And I also wish my first RE had thought of it. Fucker. I wasted umpteen cycles, cancelled an IUI because of "too many follicles" - HA! and am now freefalling toward donor eggs. I don't want to be all doomsday on you, but I know you were looking for honest feedback and this is mine.

But, since your ER is coming up in July - that's soon! - I would let that go on as planned, and see what comes of it (A baby, I just know it!). But if by chance it's a bust, then you'll have a much better idea of egg quality and be prepared to deal with it.

Now. Step away from the Google. :)

LIW (Lady In Waiting) said...

Given the insurance coverage issue, it might be worth trying to find out if there *is* any way to speed up your cycle and/or back-date treatment. Damn insurance companies!!

As for the FSH level, ask your lab how it grades the levels. I have read that they vary among labs so 7.4 may not be as high as you think.

My fingers are crossed for you!!

Carrie said...

I think it's easy to grab onto any potential problem and worry about it. I was shaking when I got my 1st FSH result back. Then I relaxed a bit but, as others have mentioned, it doesn't tell the whole story.

I now tell myself that doing IVF will hopefully help answer some questions and, hopefully, bypass some potential problems. I reckon that's about as good as I can hope for right now!

I hope the insurance turns out ok. Your state law sounds fab. I'd better not start on about the good old NHS. I think my blood pressure rises when ever I think of the huge amount of money we HAVE to pay in and the lack of choice (or any fertility treatment) we get out of it.

Dr. Google is not nice sometimes. I'd try not to listen to him.

Matthew M. F. Miller said...

I'm so sorry you have this to worry about, but don't let your worry consume you until you know for sure it is indeed something to worry about.

You're in my thoughts, and I hope your insurance company stops being an a-hole.

Ann said...

Yes, Dr. Google is evil. I always find that I feel much, much worse about any suspected problems after I've researched them online.

hopeful to hateful in 28 days said...

ooh- that is bad timing on the insurance.
*sucks* And I agree- it should be mandatory to cover IF treatments.

Mary Ellen and Steve said...

Dr. Google is not to be trusted.

I am sorry about the insurance stuff. What a pain. Thinking of you.

Erin said...

I kind of cheated - my tracker is really just a text field from Blogger that I edit. Go to Customize, then click on Add a Page Element, and then choose Text.

Thank you so much for your offer to talk to your SIL. I'm going to go through this next cycle, and then if I have to rethink things after that, then I very well may take you up on it. My center (PFC) seems to have the best success rates around, so I may be stuck with them, but if he continues with this asshattery, I will definitely be looking around.

Do you think Dismissiveness 101 is mandatory at RE school? Maybe it's combined with Concepts in Condescension. Argh.