“I really believe the thing that holds people back is the romantic version of who they think they want to be or who they think they are versus who they actually are.” ― Gary Vaynerchuck
There can be a sense of sadness before one undergoes egg freezing. It is like letting go of this imaginary plan you have for your life crushing the romantic version of yourself or all that you have dreamed. It is the understanding of realizing that you are human and vulnerable. It is hard enough to let one-self dream, but when the idea seems inconceivable it can be even more crushing. Who is going to be the other half of my child’s genetics? What will that child look like some day? What will I tell my child some day about their conception story? Should I do this on my own? Floods of questions can fill your mind with fear, doubt, and skepticism. Some days you wonder how bad do you really want this. When you are in the thick of the emotions it is hard to have good judgment to know which direction to go and who to turn to for help. I think calling on one or two close friends who you really trust and want to share this experience with can help.
I am not immune to any of these questions. Remembering back to helping my God-kids prepare and get dressed for Halloween, their favorite holiday of the year and full of imagination, I was suddenly overwhelmed myself with these same questions. As I paint my God-daughter’s nails I pondered, will I ever have this, can this be my future some day with my own daughter, and do I have to become a parent alone?
A sense of nervousness and anxiety came over me when the time was close to order and start my hormone shots. Luckily I was scheduled that afternoon to meet with my IVF coordinator, Ilynne. She would help explain which drugs to order and how to take them. I spent the entire morning researching YouTube videos on the topic. I had only helped a handful of friends complete these shots, but so long ago I couldn’t really remember the details involved.
My lab results were back and levels looked good for egg freezing this month, the nurse spent some time with me to review the medication list and my anticipated protocol schedule. Ilynne assisted with ordering my prescription, find out which pharmacy participated with my insurance, and submit the request. She also gave me phone numbers to the pharmacy to confirm the shipping of my medications. I was prescribed an order of Follistim, Menopur, Ganirelix, Leuprolide, Chrorionic Gonadotropin, and Doxycycline.
The injectable medication, Follistim is used to stimulation my ovaries for follicular development. These medications work to recruit, develop, and grow multiple egg follicles development to harvest the most eggs as possible in this cycle (*link: http://www.follistim.com/ for discount savings up to $300).
Another injectable medication, Menopur is a gonadotropin that contains a combination of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) that stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs. Menopur is an injectable, highly purified human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG). I think Menopur was the hardest medication to mix. If you have never watched or used it before might be the most challenging drug to get right. I would suggest watching the educational video how to prepare the hormone for injections.
I was also prescribed Ganirelix (*link: http://www.ganirelix.com/ for discount savings up to $300). Ganirelix acetate is an injectable competitive gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist. It is primarily used in assisted reproduction to control ovulation.
HCG helps in the follicle maturation process and triggers the release of mature eggs from the follicles. Generall, you will be given a medication to induce ovulation prior to taking the trigger shot. Medications like Clomid or HMG will help your ovaries to develop follicles for ovulation.
Doxycycline is medicine is a tetracycline antibiotic that treats infections and anthrax infection after possible exposure.
Keep in mind that each person is ordered a unique “cocktail” of medications that would be the best combination for that person given their medical history, lab reports, and blood work collected. There are several commonly prescribed medications that can help stimulation. A few common brands for egg development include Bravelle (Ferring), Follistim (Merck), and Gonal-f (EMD Serono). Clinically research shows there are no additional benefits from choosing one brand over the other. However being an informed patient can help in achieving the greatest cost savings. I had to contact a few pharmacies to find the one that would cover my medications from my insurance company. Insurance plans have preferred brands for each class of medication. Whichever brand is less expensive or covered with your insurance plan is usually the one that will be ordered and prescribed.
After my appointment, my nurse called back with specific instructions on how to take my egg freezing fertility medications. For the next 10-14 days, I am to undergo monitoring via blood work and ultrasounds to ensure my eggs are responding to the fertility drugs. I was asked to come into the clinic in the morning, typically every other day until it was almost time for retrieval. Then a “trigger shot” would be given to finalize egg maturation. My retrieval would then take place in the next 36 hours.
Then after almost 2 weeks of hormone injections, I would be put under general anesthesia for the doctor to use an ultrasound-guided needle to aspirate, retrieve, and collect my now mature egg follicles out to be frozen. Afterwards I would be given enough time to recover from anesthesia and advised to rest for the remainder of the day.
Join the conversation and tell us what things you are most concerned with if you were to freeze your eggs. How do you feel about taking medications? What support networks would you like to have? What services would you desire to take advantage of to make this process easier? We want to hear what you think.
*General list of administering medications: http://www.freedommedteach.com/eng/ or How to mix Menopur: http://www.freedommedteach.com/eng/videos.html?play=menopur_draw_up_needle%2Cmenopur_sq