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Hope, in a Jar

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A blog by Megan Swanek, August 31, 2014

Remember as a child just how excited you were on Christmas morning, hoping that one of those presents under the tree was the one you really wanted? And how disappointed you knew you would be if you didn’t get what you had been hoping and wishing for over the last few months? That feeling pales in comparison to just how nervous and excited I was the other day waiting on the results of my blood test and estradiol level.

An estradiol level under 25 meant I would be given my free stimulation medication and move forward. An estradiol level over 25 would mean I could be out of the study. There is a lot riding on this, and it’s all compounded by the fact that my Mom (who has stage IV cancer) recently survived a life-threatening bout with sepsis and is recovering in a rehab facility. I really want to make her a grandma.

I hardly slept the night before I made the 2 ½ hour drive to my fertility clinic. I had finished the 12 days of Lupron injections (20 units) and it was time to see if my body was responding. During my first (failed) IVF at a different clinic, my estradiol levels were too high, and we had to wait until the next month, so that was weighing heavy on my mind. High levels mean that your body has already “chosen” one follicle to be dominant, and an indication that stimulation medication may not work in fooling multiple follicles into thinking they are “the one” and all growing to maturity. But I would not be afforded the luxury of waiting until next month at this clinic.

Since I am enrolled in this clinical trial and receiving IVF at a fraction of the cost, certain guidelines are given that they cannot deviate from. If my levels were too high, I could be checked again several times, but then I would be exited from the study.

After about five hours, the anticipation was killing me and I felt like a child, wondering if what I really wanted was still in the quickly dwindling pile of presents. The results came in and I was given the ultimate gift: a green light to proceed and start my stimulation medication. My present was five pen-like syringes of a new non-FDA approved FSH called AFOLIA. I excitedly injected the 225 IU that evening and will continue until my appointment next week. At that time, I will have an ultrasound, blood work and be given more of the same medication as long as everything is alright.

More on this possible new alternative to Gonal-F and how it could reduce the cost of future IVF medications in my next blog entry.


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