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The Diagnosis: POF

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a blog by Donor Diva, July 14, 2011

To read more Donor Diva: Let's Talk Egg Donation blogs, CLICK HERE.

When given the diagnosis of premature ovarian failure (POF), it is devastating. I will never forget the day that I first heard the words: “Your FSH is high.” I could tell you exactly where I was and what I did that day. It is permanently etched in my mind.

When given the diagnosis of POF you have three, maybe four choices when it comes to building your family:

  1. Trying on your own
  2. In vitro fertilization (IVF) with your own eggs (if you have eggs to stimulate)
  3. Egg donation
  4. Adoption

Trying to conceive on your own with POF can be very frustrating. If you have a cycle, you can track your ovulation to optimize your chances. There are a few things you can do to help the possibility of conceiving on your own, such as lifestyle changes. These can include changes in diet, supplements, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, etc. These haven’t worked for me (so far), but they have for some. I am currently changing my diet again, and I’m hoping we might get a little miracle too.

IVF and POF don’t always mix well together, because if you have POF, most likely you have very few eggs in your ovaries when your fertility doctor does an antral follicle count. Luckily, I had a few, and that is why my fertility doctor said we could do IVF with my eggs. In retrospect, I think he was just doing it to please me. Again, people have gotten pregnant with high FSH and low AFC, but I didn’t.

If the first two options don’t work for you, and you want to carry your child, then egg donation is a great option. All the hormone levels that you worry about with regular IVF don’t apply. The only major area of concern is your uterine lining. If you have a history of miscarriages, there may be a few more tests to run, but as my RE told me, 90 percent of women are pregnant by the third cycle! To me, egg donation seemed like a fast, easy way of getting pregnant. The hard part was giving up on my own genetics.

The last option for building your family is adoption. I really don’t know much about adoption but I am becoming more open to the idea. During the 4th of July weekend we met a couple who adopted through the foster care system, and they had the sweetest 3-year-old son. It was heartwarming (and a little inspiring) to hear such a successful adoption story.

No matter what you may be feeling after you hear the words “premature ovarian failure,” you don’t have to give up on your dreams of building your family. It just might take a little longer.

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