Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The suggestions, advice, recommendations and tips I give below are only my opinions based upon my own experience or what I have personally read in books about fertility, pregnancy, and health and in articles, blogs, podcasts and discussions among women experiencing similar issues on internet forums. Please refer to your medical professional or fertility specialist for diagnosis and treatment for any fertility issues you have. However, I hope my suggestions below will be helpful in that they will bring further information and knowledge to light. May you use what I share here to increase the wisdom you are gaining on your own fertility journey.
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Q: I failed my first three cycles (fertility med) and that process already seemed so long. How many of these do I have to do anyway? And will the outcome actually be a BFP (Big Fat Positive pregnancy test result)?
A: While I cannot 100% guarantee anything for you in particular, or anyone for that matter, I DO want to encourage you. Yes, this process IS really hard, unbelievably so. But the up-side is that you WILL get pregnant if you do everything you can (and with the supernatural blessings of God…that is my belief, anyway). So, do everything you can in your control, like eat well, get moderate exercise, reduce your stress, get adequate vitamins, have a lot of sex with your hubby, and be open and honest with your fertility specialist, ob/gyn or reproductive endocrinologist. Ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you think a different protocol, amount or type of medication or something else in the process will work better for you. But also be willing to carefully listen to the experts and medical professionals. Because they’ve been doing their craft for years, they have experiential knowledge knowing what typically works well.
As far as the number of cycles it takes, I know it’s so hard. The waiting is hard. The fluctuations of emotions each month is hard. The financial toil fertility meds takes on your budget/account is also hard to deal with.
But remember, all of these sacrifices, struggles and tough things we go through, they are ALL worth it. In the future, when you look back, you’ll realize the burdens, discomfort, pain you went through was a drop in the bucket. Having your child(ren) in your family…their incredible value, your love for them, the light and life they will add to yours and everyone’s life…everything you are going through now for them to be with you someday…it will all be worth it. So, don’t give up (unless your intuition/higher power/God clearly tells you to surrender and stop…if that even happens).
Finally, as far as the number of cycles you have done, you are still within normal ranges for conception. I read a statistic that 50-60% of couples conceive by the 6th cycle. So, give yourself some slack…you are doing GREAT!
Q: I’m taking Femera, my follicles were at 14mm, and I’m wondering if I can ask my doctor to trigger me?
A: If you are doing Femera, I would recommend you wait a longer until the follicle is bigger. I read somewhere that studies have shown in oral med cycles that triggering when the follicles are closer to 18mm, but preferably between 23-25mm, have the highest of pregnancy.
When I was taking the Femera + Follistim combo, I had 4 follicles measured at 16mm on Monday. My doctor had me take my trigger shot late on the evening of Wednesday. I believe he did this knowing my follicles had the potential to grow up to 2mm per day. If you do the math, my follicles could have been between 20-22mm when I ovulated.
If this cycle doesn’t work out, use it as a learning experience. You can ask your doctor to do oral + injections on your next cycle. As I mentioned in My Story, my doctor had me do Femera + Follistim injections, with an IUI, which led to my pregnancy. That combination was exactly what my body responded well with. You may be the same. My doctor decided to do these two because during my 2nd cycle, he discovered I was okay with LH, but needed much more FSH in my system. I think that was due to my PCOS.
Also, consider trying an injection with LH in it, like Menopur. That’s what my doctor had me do on my 1st Cycle. It didn’t work for me, BUT I’ve read that many with HA respond better with injections with LH as opposed to those with just FSH.
Q: How often should we have sex to increase our chances of conception?
A: During the pre-ovulation period, I’d suggest you try to have sex regularly, preferably daily. For me, during the week of my IUI, which fell on a Friday, my hubby and I had sex every day Sunday, (we skipped Monday because my hubby had a late night work event), then we made love Tuesday through Saturday. Most doctors will tell you to abstain from having sex 1-2 days before your IUI or IVF. However, we chose not to do that. Instead, we wanted to increase our chances by having as much sperm in me as possible. This makes it possible for the sperm to wait for the egg in the cervix as it is being released. However, I have a caveat with this recommendation: If you cannot have sex on a daily basis you can schedule it for every other day. This is especially true if doing it daily affects sperm count too negatively. If your hubby produces a lower-than-average sperm count, I recommend the every-other-day route (if you haven’t already done this as a couple, your doctor can order a Semen Analysis, where your hubby will provide a sample. His sperm motility, morphology (shape), count/amount, and other factors will be reported).
Q: My husband seems stressed out lately. Sometimes I feel as though I’m pressuring him during the important fertile window. Is there something I can say or do to relieve his pressure or explain why it’s important for us?
A: I’ve heard somewhere that happiness improves the quality of sperm in your guy, especially during lovemaking. Therefore, although you feel under-the-gun to make conception happen, try to resist rushing into lovemaking. During my 1st cycle, I was overly pushy with my husband. I realized I was stressing out my hubby by saying we needed to get-it-on before properly doing it in a more natural way. That made it less fun for the both of us. So, after two days of that, I quickly realized my folly, switched strategies. Take your time and indulge in a steamy session of foreplay. That will get your good juices “flowing” which will aid the sperm in the movement towards your fallopian tubes and eggs. It will also hurt less the more you are “prepped” if you struggle with being more dry down there than the average woman. You both want to be aroused before penetration to increase both your chances of conception, but also enjoying the beautiful act of lovemaking, in general. Also, when he is well aroused, the volume of secretions that make up semen will be naturally increased. As a result, the volume of the ejaculate increases.
*Next: Fertility FAQ’s: Your Questions Answered – Part #2
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For the next Q&A post, instead of writing out the whole “disclaimer” write “*Disclaimer: Before reading this blogpost, please refer to this disclaimer here. Thank you.”