Because we were still considered as having "unexplained infertility" and with the additional information about the DNA Fragmentation, our doctor suggested that while we were going through the IVF process that we have a PGD test done on the embryos that are made before the transfer.
PGD stands for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. The process is this: After my eggs are retrieved and combined with the sperm, an embryo forms. The embryologist would then do a biopsy on the embryos and send that sample off to a lab in California. The lab would run a test on the sample that looks at all of the chromosomes that are made up in that embryo. Each embryo should have 23 pairs of chromosomes and if something is off on one of the pairs or if there is an extra chromosome in there, the test would pick it up. This test would be able to check for any kind of genetic syndrome such as Down Syndrome. And because your gender is the 24th chromosome, the test also tested for that. Keep that part in mind for later :)
The doctor suggested this test for us for a couple of reasons, but mainly because we still have no clue what's wrong with us, why we aren't getting pregnant, and what caused the miscarriage. This test might be able to give us a little more insight into our situation. But on the other hand, it in no way would be able to tell us if the sperm that was used to form these embryos had any DNA Fragmentation. The discovery of DNA Fragmentation in sperm is so new (like in the last 3 to 4 years), that they really don't know what to do with that information yet.
In the end, we decided to go ahead with the test, even though it was an extra $6,000 on top of the total cost of the IVF (I'm not sure if it's weird to post the cost or not on a public blog, but I will just say this, there was a loan taken out and these babies will be paid off on their 5th birthday! But if anyone is interested, I don't mind at all filling in the details in a personal message).
Once we got all of that taken care of, the IVF cycle began and it went a little something like this:
April 10th - Start Birth Control - Birth control is used to suppress the ovaries and get them ready for all of the stimulation. It's a little weird to be taking birth control when you're trying to get pregnant, I know...
April 15th - I had a doctor's appointment to get up to date on my Pap, something called an ultrasound with contrast - where they do an ultrasound while shooting liquid up there, and a trial IVF - this is basically a practice run on the most important part of the procedure. The doctor does everything like the real thing and takes notes and measurements to follow for the big day.
April 26th - Patient Education - We met in a room with about 4 other couples to learn about the whole process. We ended up seeing one of these couples every single time we were in the office because they were on the exact same schedule as us. And each time we would check in with each others progress. I haven't seen them since our last blood test, but I'm pretty sure she got pregnant with twins too.
May 12th - Baseline - This was an ultrasound to check my ovaries to make sure everything was good to go!
May 16th - Start meds for IVF - At this time, I was on one oral medication in the morning and then 2 shots a day. It got up to 3 shots a day at one point though. It wasn't too terrible because I got used to them. I had already been taking shots for the IUIs that it was no big deal to me. The only thing different was that I was taking a lot more shots at one time and my belly was sore and bruised and I would run out of spots to poke.
A little while after starting the meds, I started having ultrasounds every other day to check to see how many follicles I was producing and how big they were. I was producing normally, just like I should and I would get a good report every time and then told to come back in the next few days to check again. The follicles had to be a certain size to be able to trigger my ovulation at the exact right time to be able to do the egg retrieval. This was very important because if we missed the right time, all of the meds were done for nothing.
May 25th - I got the ok to finally take my trigger shot. This made me a nervous wreck. I've had to take a trigger shot with all of my IUI's, so I knew how important it was. But with the IUI's, the shot was prefilled and all I had to do was just insert it in my stomach at the exact time they told me to. Well, this shot had to be mixed, part powder and part liquid. And I had to take it at exactly 11:00 pm on this night. So I set 2 alarms in case I feel asleep. I got up and started the mixing process. But then I realized I didn't have the right needle. The only needle I had was too big to draw the mixture into the syringe! I start freaking out. I'm yelling at David that "we can NOT mess this up!!!" We finally get as much as we can into the syringe and I literally jam it into my stomach, I didn't try pinching or anything to make it go in better, I didn't care. That thing just needed to get in there. I do all of this while I'm crying because I just know I didn't get the full dosage. This was the most important step on my end and I had messed it up. I was devastated.
But the next day, I find out from the doctor that we were fine and it's not a big deal if we didn't get the full dosage. So I just relax because it's all out of my hands at this point.