Is There a Supplement for That?

My AMH results came back super quick. Only 4 days after the test I got a call from one of my nurses with the numbers. Before I get into them, here’s the breakdown for the AMH test my office uses: High over 4.0 (often PCOS), Normal 1.5-4.0, Low Normal 1.0-1.5, Low 0.5-1.0, Very Low less than 0.5. Now for my results. I knew it was bad as soon as I answered the phone. My nurse was using the same voice as when they give negative beta results. My AMH is 0.2. Yep. 0.2 Very Low. We went from MFI to MFI + an Arcuate Uterus + likely DOR (diminished ovarian reserve) in one round of tests. FFS.

I’ve been really sad and overwhelmed and didn’t even feel like updating. With fewer eggs comes fewer quality eggs just based on the numbers. For instance, if a retrieval yielded 24 eggs and half are mature and healthy, that would be 12 eggs we’d be working with. However, with less follicles producing, a retrieval may only yield 6 eggs. With half of those mature and healthy, we’d be left with 3 eggs to inseminate then hopefully grow into blastocysts. With this being a numbers game with about 50% attrition at every stage, it’s very likely 3 eggs would never yield even 1 viable embryo. That sucks.

I began frantically googling what I can do to promote egg health. I can’t change the amount of eggs I have because, as a woman, I was born with all the eggs I’ll ever have. I started taking a supplement of CoQ10, ingesting royal jelly, drinking at least 12 ounces of vitamin D whole milk daily, reduced my caffeine consumption to a negligible amount. I’m back to working out and eating healthier and I’m still constantly reading articles and trying to learn what else I can do to make my tiny stockpile of eggs grade A. I at least have some control over egg health. I called my office back to ask whether they really are okay proceeding with IVF with such a low egg supply. My nurse shared my protocol will be different but they often deal with this and are confident they can make it work for us. I was starting to get the wind back in my sails.

I should’ve known better. A week and a half later I got a call from the RE’s office about my arcuate uterus. My doctor has determined surgery may be necessary. My consultation over the procedure is next week. Basically, in my mind, I’ve made the decision to proceed with surgery. Now that I know I will likely only get 1 or 2 embryos, (if that), we simply can’t take the chance of it implanting on the partial septum and miscarrying. When I discussed it with my mom, she thinks that may be why my doctor is now encouraging the surgery as well. If I was going to have 12 embryos it would still be extremely sad to miscarry one but we’d have others to use after doing the surgery. Now we are very well aware we won’t have that luxury.

I was still pretty emotional about all this until the last day or two. I came to peace with an egg retrieval from me with ICSI using Kap’s sperm doesn’t have a great chance. We will both do everything we can to influence the quality of his sperm and the quality of my eggs in the time leading up to our Cycle but at the end of the day, chances are low. With my AMH, our likelihood of conception with both our DNA dropped from 34% to 25%. A 75% chance of failure is not attractive but it’s our reality. Last night we discussed our go-forward plan in the very high likelihood this doesn’t work. After 1 cycle of IVF using our DNA, we will begin pursuing a donor embryo adoption.

Donor embryos exist when a family has additional embryos in storage once their family is complete. At that time, the couple can chose to discard them, allow them to be used for research or donate them to someone else who may be unable to create a viable embryo. Embryo adoption isn’t cheap but based on my dismal amount of remaining eggs and Kap’s dismal quality of sperm, embryo adoption gives us a much higher chance of conception. A chance of 52% to be exact. Neither of us are particularly tied to our genetic code being carried on so this could be a very real solution to our conception problems. As per usual, I’ve been researching the process to learn everything I can. From legal parameters to associated costs to the physical processes, it’s all so different. For now, it’s on the back burner but it’s on our radar and an option. It just feels so good to have options.

That’s where we’re at for now. Chugging my royal jelly and whole milk and slamming my CoQ10 and Kaptain drinking less than 200 mg of caffeine daily, (minor miracle), and taking his CoQ10 and both us losing weight and getting ready for next week’s surgery consultation. Time truly is of the essence and so the thought of being pushed back a couple months is not going to be ideal. I’m hoping we can get it scheduled and completed quickly to keep the ball rolling and us moving towards a family however it may be created.

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